Money Matters - Simplified

Housing crisis spiraling to people's stuff

Washington -- Many Americans who have lost their homes to foreclosure are seeing their belongings auctioned as well because they can't pay the storage costs, analysts say.

With foreclosures on the rise, people put their belongings into storage units while they sought new housing. But with the mortgage crisis turning into a general economic crisis, storage companies are auctioning off people's possessions when they can't pay the bills, The New York Times said Sunday.

On the flip side, the storage unit business is booming, The Times noted. Stock for U-Store-It is up 33 percent and rivals Extra Space and Public Storage saw 18 percent gains this year.

U-Store-It chief Dean Jernigan said consumers usually turn to storage units in good times when they relocate for new work or remodel their homes.

But with the economic crisis growing worse and worse, "People are moving back down the property ladder," Jernigan said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International.