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Foreclosure activity reaches record in North Carolina

N.C. regulators are looking for new ways to help more homeowners as the foreclosure crisis spreads, hitting another unwelcome record last month.

Statewide, foreclosure filings rose 43 percent in August, compared with a year ago, according to Observer analysis of court data compiled by the state. Filings, which mark the start of foreclosures, rose above 6,500 for the first time last month.

Mecklenburg County saw an 80 percent increase, to 1,316, the second highest number on record for the county.

The foreclosure problem that tipped the nation into recession began with subprime loans, often made to home buyers with sketchy credit and with payments they couldn't afford. The recession has pushed N.C. unemployment to double-digit levels, putting more people at risk for falling behind on payments. In addition, home values have fallen, making it harder for people to sell houses they can no longer afford

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