The number of people falling behind on their mortgages is decreasing, but the number of homes being seized by the banks is increasing:
Bank repossessions hit a record monthly high in May, according to RealtyTrac, the online marketer of foreclosed properties. Lenders took back 93,777 properties, up 1% from the previous month's record and 44% from the same period a year earlier.
Foreclosure filings, meanwhile, fell by 3% from a month earlier and edged up less than 1% from May 2009. One in every 400 homes received a foreclosure notice last month.
Nevada, Arizona and Florida once again top the state foreclosure rates in May, though the pace is moderating.
One in every 79 homes in Nevada received a foreclosure filing last month, down nearly 12% from April and 16% from a year ago. The state's foreclosure rate is five times the national average.
Fewer foreclosures, but more property being seized by banks.
For people of color, the foreclosure rate is even higher:
Of borrowers who took out mortgages between 2005 and 2008, some 8% of both African-American and Latino borrowers have lost their homes to foreclosure, compared to 4.5% of non-Hispanic whites, according to a study by the Center for Responsible Lending, released Friday.
The racial and ethnic disparities continued even after controlling for income differences. The center's research shows that African-American and Latino borrowers were about 30% more likely to get higher rate subprime loans than white borrowers with similar risk characteristics.
Of the total pool of homeowners, 17% of Latinos have lost their homes to foreclosure or are at imminent risk of losing their homes, while 11% of African-Americans are in that position. By comparison, 7% of non-Hispanic whites have lost their homes or are about to.
In other words, the risky, higher cost mortgages and loans were heavily marketed to people of color. Truly shameful. The property values of African American and Latino communities will be hard hit by this.
How many of us have seen promos for the Extreme Makeover reality show and thought, "I wish they'd come fix my house?" A cautionary tale; when something looks too good to be true, it almost always is, as a family in California is finding out:
Five years ago, the Wofford family's home received a new house on ABC's "Extreme Makeover" show. But now the family's Encinitas home may be weeks away from foreclosure.
"A lot of people think when you get the house you get the mortgage. Well, you don't," said Wofford.
He failed several times to modify the loan with IndyMac, and he even hired an attorney, Mike Curran. "Providing documents, and providing documents again and again and again, and they still don't have a modification at this point," said Curran.
I hope it works out for them. What a terrible thing, to lose your wife, get a new home for you and your 8 kids, only to have it yanked away from you by the same banks that helped to destroy the economy.
cross-posted at Main St.workingamerica.org