Friday, March 12, 2010

More Foreclosures Ahead

The Washington Post reports on what is expected to be a new round of home foreclosures:

About 5 million to 7 million properties are potentially eligible for foreclosure but have not yet been repossessed and put up for sale. Some economists project it could take nearly three years before all these homes have been put on the market and purchased by new owners. And the number of pending foreclosures could grow much bigger over the coming year as more distressed borrowers become delinquent and then, if they can't obtain mortgage relief, wade through the foreclosure process, which often takes more than a year to complete.

As these foreclosed properties add to the supply of homes for sale, they could undercut housing prices, which have increased modestly through December, according to the most recent figures in the S&P/Case-Shiller home prices index. That rise partly reflected a slowdown in the flow of foreclosed homes onto the market.

This affects a whole different group of homeowners/borrowers:

The borrowers in trouble now are, for the most part, people who have better credit and safer loans and have become delinquent because they've lost their jobs or are dealing with other economic setbacks, economists said. More than 75 percent of the borrowers who are now seriously delinquent -- meaning they have missed at least three monthly payments -- have traditional prime loans, according to First American CoreLogic. Most of these borrowers have not made a mortgage payment in six months.

These borrowers are among the most difficult to help. Homeowners with economic troubles such as extended unemployment often cannot make even reduced mortgage payments. And the longer borrowers stay delinquent, the more difficult it is to fashion a mortgage relief plan for them.

From CBS Moneywatch some rare media honesty about the real unemployment rate:

The real question is what happens to foreclosure projections if unemployment stays high. Right now, true unemployment is running close to 17 percent, but another 20 to 30 percent of Americans have experienced a decline in pay. Half the country has less income to spend, and Americans are still losing jobs.

This serves to underscore the need for the One Million Local Jobs bill.

cross posted at

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