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Millions of Americans still suffering foreclosure headaches

The housing market nationally is doing better these days.

Home values across the country continue to lag, with depressed prices continuing to define the industry.

Which is it?

It turns out to be both.

If the state of the housing industry in the United States was to be encapsulated into a few short words, it might aptly borrow from Charles Dickens and simply be called "A Tale of Two Cities."

Or, conversely, something that is already in high coinage in the real estate industry: "Location, location, location."

Here is a central fact about the U.S. housing market in early 2014: It is upbeat and all good news for some homeowners, while continuing to suffer mightily for many others even years after the first inning of its strong collapse back in 2007.

Truly, industry-relevant data is a stark mixed bag of information. On the one hand, many homeowners across the country have regained substantial value in their homes over the past couple years, with some areas of the United States seeing sharp drops in foreclosures and bankruptcy filings. On the other hand, certain pockets of the country continue to suffer with depressed prices, some of them so low that homeowners owe far more on their properties than those homes are worth.

That is known as an “underwater home,” a phrase that has come into wide currency in recent years. In the most hard-hit areas of the United States, some homeowners are as much as 40 percent underwater on their homes.

In Arkansas and elsewhere, not everyone shares in the restored fortunes that have luckily been bestowed on select homeowners. Many homeowners (millions nationwide) continue to struggle with depressed home valuations and timely payments on mortgages that have become onerous in the extreme.

Debtors who face seemingly insurmountable financial challenges should know that bankruptcy is a potential solution, and one that has in fact helped millions of Americans deal with high debt levels and regain their financial footing.

In Arkansas, a Little Rock bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney can answer questions and provide strong legal representation for any client seeking to deal responsibly with high levels of debt.

NBC News, “Sluggish home prices leave millions underwater,” John W. Schoen, April 17, 2014

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