Are homeowners overextended, or are Rockingham County assessments too low!?

In reviewing foreclosure notices in the Daily News Record from this past Wednesday (August 13, 2008), I was surprised to see such a consistent scenario of loan amounts exceeding the assessed values of homes.  These included:

Given this consistent relationship between assessed values and loan amounts, I assume one (or more) of the following must be true:

Recent sales trends indicate that prices aren’t really going down — so the third possibility doesn’t seem likely.  Perhaps it is a combination of the first two factors?

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