All the news lately about the housing market, home sales in particular, has been encouraging and showing signs of stabilization in the real estate market and demonstrating that the real estate market may have seen the worst. Just when you think you may be through the storm though you see another dark cloud lurking in the distance. For the real estate market this dark cloud could very well be mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures.
At the end of this week the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that serious mortgage delinquencies (homeowners that are 90 or more days past due on their house payments or are already in foreclosure proceedings) reached record levels in the 2nd quarter of 2009 and surpassing the record set in the prior quarter. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association statistics over 13 percent of all loans are now past due and 1 in 12 borrowers is seriously delinquent on their mortgage. This is a 45 percent increase from a year ago when 1 in 22 borrowers were seriously delinquent and a whopping 70 percent increase from two years ago when it was only 1 in 40. This shows that the proportion of struggling homeowners continues to climb-even though the number of foreclosures has remained fairly constant this year (albeit at record levels unfortunately). The problem is not just with sub-prime loans as we have heard a lot about in the past but spans all sectors of the market and includes sub-prime, prime and FHA mortgages. I would say by the statistics we are seeing the Obama administration’s loan modification plan, which was supposed to help borrowers that are struggling to make their house payments by lowering their payments, clearly isn’t working or the problem is much larger than the administration anticipated and it’s only making a dent in the problem.