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Unemployment Key to Mortgage Defaults, Expert Says    
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While rising interest rates may spell less disposable income for consumers, mortgage defaults are unlikely to climb appreciably unless unemployment rates start to rise across the country, said Andy Chawla, senior vice president and director of enterprise risk management with the Impac Companies, a Newport Beach, Calif. Market research and analysis company.

“You will see some areas that will suffer some deterioration,” in mortgage performance but those likely will be pockets where unemployment is rising, Chawla told Credit & Collection Risk while he attended the Mortgage Bankers Association conference in Chicago this week.

New mortgage originations could slow anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent as housing markets cool going into early 2007, he predicted.

Impac was demonstrating its iMap software which rates market conditions across the country looking at such variables as unemployment and loan delinquencies.
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