Experts eye sub-primes in Westchester foreclosures

(04/06/07) MOUNT PLEASANT ? Mortgage experts are eying sub-prime lenders as the cause of a massive spike in Westchester County foreclosures.

According to mortgage banker Donald Arace, the root of the problem is loans that were given to residents with less than favorable credit ratings. Those residents financed 80 to 100 percent of the purchase price of their homes.

As the real estate market takes a downturn and more houses go up for sale, homeowners who banked on a booming market are having problems with payments. Over the past two years, the number of homes seized by banks has more than doubled.

Before the point of foreclosure, Arace says homeowners can take certain steps to help themselves.

His first piece of advice is for homeowners to talk to their banks and discuss options. Arace said borrowers should speak to a bank representative who is willing to listen to their problems and come up with some type of solution. ?That may stave off the possibility of foreclosure,? he said.

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