As personal bankruptcies have mushroomed [NYT] over the past five years, a new bankruptcy law will make it more difficult to wipe the slate clean.

Source: NYT

As home prices rise, bankruptcies tend to fall as homeowners are able to draw on their homequity loans to stay out of trouble.

A weakening real estate market may create problems if home equity does not expand as it has in recent years and economic conditions weaken.

[Map Of Changes in Bankruptcy Rates by County, 2000 to 2005]

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