By Stuart R. Wahlin
According to an April 23 article published by U.S. News & World Report, Rockford made No. 9 on a list of “10 Cities Facing a Double Whammy of Default Risks,” based on 2009’s fourth-quarter mortgage delinquencies and defaults as reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The article attributes the high number to a combination of decreased property values, resulting in negative equity, and high unemployment.
The report noted: “These same forces have worked to land Rockford—a city of 157,000 located in northern Illinois—in a comparable fix, [Economy.com’s Celia] Chen says. Local unemployment hit 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009.”
Unemployment in Rockford rose to 19.5 percent in February, but dipped to 18.8 percent in March, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
“The Midwest did go into the recession earlier than the rest of [the country], so the situation has been eroding for a longer period of time,” Chen stated in the article, which indicated more than 22 percent of Rockford homeowners owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Las Vegas topped the list, which also included Merced, Calif., El Centro, Calif., Port St. Lucie, Fla., Fort Myers, Fla., Bend, Ore., Ocala, Fla., Detroit, and Toledo, Ohio.
From the April 28-May 4, 2010 issue