Housing market on the road to recovery, but it’s still a bumpy path for many homeowners

California’s hard-hit housing market is finally getting off the mat.

Bidding wars, first-day-on-the-market deals and even multiple offers are common again, especially in high-demand areas such as the Bay Area and Southern California.

But it’s definitely a tale of two states. For every San Jose or Los Angeles, there is a San Bernardino or Los Banos – cities where many homeowners are still struggling.


Many communities continue to deal with double-digit jobless rates – 20 of the state’s 58 counties had rates above 10% last month — and many homeowners remain severely underwater with their mortgages.

So, many homeowners could still benefit from Keep Your Home California. The free mortgage-assistance program has helped almost 33,000 homeowners, but many more could receive as much as $100,000, especially in the hard-hit regions of the state.

Keep Your Home California – a $2 billion, federally funded program – has four programs to assist struggling homeowners, with three of the programs designed to help with mortgage payments. The fourth, the Transition Assistance Program, helps homeowners with as much as $5,000 to relocate to new housing after they complete a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

Of course, homeowners must meet county-by-county income requirements and their mortgage servicer must participate in the program. Homeowners must also face a financial hardship, such as a job loss, cut in pay, a divorce or extraordinary medical bills in order to qualify. A loan-to-value ratio of 140% or more now qualifies as a financial hardship under the Principal Reduction Program.

If you have additional questions or would like to apply for the program, call 888-954-5337 or visit www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org (Spanish speakers should visit www.conservatucasacalifornia.org). The counseling center is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

Image courtesy of nattavut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net