Nearly one in four American homeowners are now underwater on their mortgage. Richard Florida crunches the numbers to find the 20 cities with the biggest debt and housing problems.
The market for new houses turned down sharply last month, dampening hopes for a rapid recovery. And according to figures released last week, nearly one in four existing American homes is underwater—meaning that their owners owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth.
The worst of the fallout from the burst housing bubble continues to be highly localized. Metros in California, Nevada, and Florida have the most troubled housing markets, according to our new Housing-Mortgage Stress Index. Nearly half of the metros on the list—nine of the top 20, including all five of the top five—are in California: Stockton, Modesto, Vallejo-Fairfield, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, and Bakersfield-Delano, along with Fresno, Visalia-Porterville, Sacramento and Salinas.