Yikes, Foreclosures Are At 13%…… All Time High’s

Posted By on August 20, 2009

Mortgage defaults rise to record 13%


In the second quarter, the number of homeowners behind on payments or in foreclosure rose along with the jobless rate, with California among states leading the way.


The mortgage meltdown continued to worsen in the second quarter as the number of homeowners who are either behind on their payments or in foreclosure rose to more than 13% nationwide — a new record.

The percentage of loans at least 90 days past due and the number of mortgages in foreclosure both hit new highs, the Mortgage Bankers Assn. reported this morning.

California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona continued to account for the lion’s share of the foreclosures with a combined 44% of the national total, although that was down slightly from the first quarter, when 46% of all foreclosures were concentrated in those four states.

FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this article reported that 15.3% of the mortgages in Michigan were either delinquent or in foreclosure. The correct number is 15.8%.

The distress among residential borrowers has increased along with the nation’s jobless rate. As more Americans are thrown out of work, the problem that began with borrowers who took out risky subprime loans is now spreading to those who received more traditional fixed-rate mortgages.

One in three new foreclosures between April and June was from a prime, fixed-rate loan, up from one in five a year earlier. Last year, subprime adjustable-rate loans caused the largest share of foreclosures.

“It is unlikely we will see meaningful reductions in the foreclosure and delinquency rates until the employment situation improves,” said Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s chief economist.

The latest news from the job market provided little encouragement in that regard. The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly for the second straight week to 576,000 last week, the Labor Department reported today.

On a more hopeful note, interest rates on 30-year mortgages fell to their lowest level since May, reducing borrowing costs for potential home buyers. The average 30-year rate fell to 5.12% from 5.29%, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported today.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, 9.2% of all residential mortgages were delinquent at the end of the second quarter, the bankers group said. That was up from 9.1% at the end of the first quarter and up from 6.4% a year ago.

The delinquency rate, which includes loans that are at least one payment past due but does not include homes in foreclosure, was the highest since the group began keeping records in 1972.

Foreclosure actions were started on 1.4% of residential loans in the second quarter, basically flat from the first quarter but up from 1.1% a year ago.

The problem was worst in Florida, where almost 23% of mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure at the end of the June. The next highest states were Nevada at 21.3%, Arizona at 16.3% and Michigan at 15.8%. California ranked seventh at 15.2%.

The bankers association said efforts to aid distressed borrowers, such as the Obama administration’s housing affordability program, are providing some relief but are not addressing all of the problems.

“While the various loan modification programs continue to have an impact on holding foreclosure rates below where they otherwise would be, the issue is that many of the foreclosures involve homes that are vacant, borrowers who no longer have jobs or loans where there was fraud involved,” Brinkmann said.   More….

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