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California Foreclosure Rate Tops In Nation; San Leandro Family's Struggle Typical

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - California had the highest foreclosure rate in the country in July, a stark reminder that people are still losing their homes in record numbers despite state and federal efforts to end the housing crisis.

For the first time, there were more foreclosures in California than Nevada during a 30-day period, according to the RealtyTrac report for the first six months of 2012. Foreclosures in California have shot up 18 percent since June 2011.

KCBS' Doug Sovern Reports:

"So many people have lost their entire net worth, their only asset. And a lot of it is because these banks gambled trillions of dollars on the derivatives markets," said J.P. Messer with Foreclosure Defense, an activist group based in Oakland.

The Homeowner Bill of Rights signed by Gov. Jerry Brown signed on Wednesday comes too late for many of the 700,000 Californians who have already defaulted on their mortgages and been told by the bank to get out.

That's exactly what happened to Pamela Hall of San Leandro, who owes nearly $500,000 on a diamond in the rough she turned into her dream home. Unfortunately now it's only worth about $200,000.

"I worked in the real estate world, so I thought I knew everything until the market crashed. And I got a rude awakening. We have been struggling, trying to hang onto our house," she said.

Hall got laid off a few months ago, has a child in college and a 14-year-old daughter at home. And the bank has notified her it would foreclose and put the property up for sale within a week.

"I don't really know what we're going to do. I mean, I don't know. I don't know," Hall said.

But giving up is not an option, she said, vowing that she would keep trying to renegotiate the terms of the loan and try to keep her family from becoming part of the foreclosure statistics in next month's report.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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