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Home Foreclosures: How Many People Are Beyond Help?

Foreclosed California home
AP
Foreclosed California home

I've been struggling for a few hours now to come up with some kind of novel insight into today's delinquency report from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The trouble is, it's groundhog's day. The numbers keep getting worse and the usual suspects, California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona, are leading the way.

The only bright spot is that apparently the Midwest is doing a little better. And I guess that's the real story.

Foreclosures in the Midwest started to rise because of, shall we say, normal reasons, like troubled local economies and job losses. Yes, they had some of those dicey new mortgage products there, but that only added fuel. There weren't a whole lot of investor speculator types in Ohio or Indiana.

So now they're doing better, but the big investor states are doing worse. The MBA economists even noted how much worse those states are faring. And you could say that's all about the investment bubble.

But I'm sitting outside an abandoned foreclosure in Manassas,VA today, and honestly I don't know what to make of this neighborhood. There are for sale and foreclosure signs literally on every block. These are not new homes or condos, and this area is your very basic blue collar type bedroom community just outside the DC beltway.

It can't be about investors here, so it must be all about mortgages. These are the borrowers that all those industry and government programs are supposedly trying to help. Given what I see here I have to wonder just how many American homeowners are simply beyond help.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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