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Foreclosure Rates and Mortgage Delinquencies

Foreclosure filings hit a 15-year low in 2019

The current housing market bears little resemblance to the early 2000s

You may have seen headlines declaring that another housing crisis is right around the corner. What those stories probably won’t tell you is that foreclosures, which triggered the last crisis, are at an all-time low.

Real estate data provider ATTOM Data Solutions reports that foreclosure activity in 2019 fell 21 percent from the year before and was down 83 percent from the peak in 2010. It was at its lowest level last year since the company began tracking the data in 2005.

"The continued decline in distressed properties is one of many signs pointing to a much-improved housing market compared to the bad old days of the Great Recess

But that doesn’t mean the market is perfectly balanced, because it isn’t. Because of a shortage of housing, prices have risen faster than incomes, and affordability has become an issue in many markets. Teta notes that foreclosure starts increased in about a third of the nation's metro housing markets in 2019. Nationally, the number also ticked up a bit in December.

"While that's not a major worry, it's something that should be watched closely in 2020," he said.

Not very similar to the 2008 crisis

When some real estate articles warn of another housing crisis, they usually base that fear on rapidly rising home prices, pointing out that was the pattern during the housing bubble. But that’s pretty much where the similarity ends.

During the bubble days, builders were putting up new homes as fast as they could. Mortgage brokers would loan money to anyone whether they could afford the house or not. The broker didn’t care because they would sell the mortgage within days to a big bank that would securitize it and sell it on Wall Street. Everyone kicked the can down the street.

The whole house of cards began to tumble when the new homeowners, who couldn’t afford the homes they purchased, defaulted on their loans and triggered a wave of home foreclosures, causing property values to plunge.

Tougher loan standards

Today, mortgage underwriters are much stricter than during the bubble days. They don’t write a mortgage unless they are convinced the buyer will be able to afford it.

The reason for the recent rise in home prices is very different from the factors that drove home prices higher in the early 2000s. Since the housing crash, builders have produced new homes at about half the rate they did before the crash, leading to a housing shortage.

More buyers competing for fewer available homes has caused prices to go up. If builders were to start producing more entry-level homes, there’s no doubt that prices would moderate.

If foreclosures are the canary in the housing market’s coal mine, that bird continues to sing a happy tune. Not only are overall foreclosure filings 83 percent lower than their 2010 peak, but bank repossessions are also down 86 percent.

You may have seen headlines declaring that another housing crisis is right around the corner. What those stories probably won’t tell you is that foreclosures, which triggered the last crisis, are at an all-time low.

Real estate data provider ATTOM Data Solutions reports that foreclosure activity in 2019 fell 21 percent from the year before and was down 83 percent from the peak in 2010. It was at its lowest level last year since the company began tracking the data in 2005...

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    Foreclosure activity hits 14-year low

    Third-quarter foreclosure activity was down 19 percent from 2018

    Foreclosure activity -- default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions -- fell to a 14-year low in the third quarter of the year, suggesting significant stability in the housing market.

    ATTOM Data Solutions, which tracks housing data, reports that foreclosure activity was down 6 percent from the previous quarter and was 19 percent lower than the third quarter of 2018. It hit the lowest level since the second quarter of 2005.

    More stringent standards to qualify for a mortgage plus very low unemployment rates have combined to almost make foreclosure a rarity.

    "Foreclosure activity continues to decline across the country, which is a good sign that the housing market and the broader economy remain strong – and that the lending excesses that helped bring down the economy during the Great Recession remain a memory," said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. 

    No reason for complacency

    But Teta says the latest report should not lead to complacency, noting that foreclosure activity can vary widely from state to state, city to city, and neighborhood to neighborhood.

    "Overall, the foreclosure numbers reflect a market in which buyers can afford their homes and lenders remain careful in loaning to home buyers who have little chance of repaying," he said.

    Foreclosures are highly disruptive to the housing market. When one house goes into foreclosure, the other houses in the neighborhood usually lose value. When several houses in a neighborhood go into default -- which happened frequently after the housing market crash -- it can be devastating and create situations where highly leveraged homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

    Troubling exceptions

    While the national trend shows far fewer foreclosures, there are troubling exceptions. Fourteen states actually saw foreclosure activity rise in the third quarter. It was up 33 percent in Montana, 32 percent in Georgia, 16 percent in Washington, and 15 percent in Louisiana.

    The highest rates of foreclosure occurred in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and Florida.

    Foreclosure happens when a homeowner defaults on a mortgage. The legal process can be lengthy from the time a foreclosure notice is filed to the time the lender auctions the property.

    In addition to defaulting on a mortgage, a homeowner may also lose a home to foreclosure by failing to pay property taxes.

    Foreclosure activity -- default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions -- fell to a 14-year low in the third quarter of the year, suggesting s...
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    First quarter foreclosures hit lowest level since 2008

    But some housing markets are seeing an uptick in activity

    U.S. foreclosure activity fell sharply in the first quarter of the year, hitting the lowest level since the first quarter of 2008, just before an avalanche of foreclosures triggered by the financial crisis.

    The quarterly report by ATTOM Data Solutions showed there were 161,875 U.S. properties in some stage of foreclosure during the first quarter of 2019, down 23 percent from the last quarter of 2018 and down 15 percent from a year ago.

    Foreclosure activity ticked up in March but still remained far below last year’s pace. Falling 21 percent compared to March 2018 foreclosures, it was the ninth straight month foreclosures had declined on a year-over-year basis.

    ‘Well below pre-recession levels’

    "While some markets saw a slight uptick in foreclosure filings, that is above pre-recession levels, the majority of the major markets are well below pre-recession levels," said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. "While we did see a slight increase in U.S. foreclosure starts from last quarter, bank repossessions reached an all-time low in the first quarter of 2019, showing continuing signs of a strong housing market."

    It may also signal a stronger economy with more stable employment. Additionally, stricter underwriting standards adopted by the mortgage industry after the housing market crashed in 2009 probably helped.

    During the early 2000s housing bubble, lenders made loans to borrowers without fully verifying their finances. As a result, many people who couldn’t afford homes were able to buy one, resulting in a wave of foreclosures once the market crashed.

    Today, lenders closely verify income and credit documents and require buyers to be employed for at least two consecutive years in the same industry.

    Stable markets

    The most stable housing market in the first quarter was San Jose, where foreclosure activity was down 79 percent from its pre-crash average. Foreclosures were down 77 percent in Memphis and  Dallas-Fort Worth, down 74 percent in Las Vegas, and down 68 percent in Phoenix.

    Markets still seeing above pre-recession foreclosure levels include Baltimore, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Hartford, Conn., Richmond, Va., Providence, R.I, and New Orleans.

    Notably, bank repossessions (REO) were lower in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Lenders repossessed 35,787 properties through foreclosure in the first quarter, down 21 percent from thefoourth quarter of 2018 and down 45 percent from a year ago.

    U.S. foreclosure activity fell sharply in the first quarter of the year, hitting the lowest level since the first quarter of 2008, just before an avalanche...
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    Foreclosure activity plunges in the third quarter

    Improving economy and tougher lending standards may be responsible

    Foreclosure activity hit an 11-year low in this year's third quarter, as an improving economy and stricter mortgage standards helped stabilize the housing market to pre-2008 levels.

    The Third Quarter 2017 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, compiled by ATTOM Data Solutions, shows there were 191,824 properties subject to foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions.

    The number is down 13 percent from the second quarter and 35 percent lower from a year ago. It's the lowest level since the second quarter of 2006, at the height of the housing bubble.

    This does not appear to be a one-off occurrence. The drop in foreclosure activity in the last quarter was the fourth straight quarter in which it has tracked below the pre-recession average.

    “Legacy foreclosures from the high-risk loans originating between 2004 and 2008 have largely been cleared out of the distressed market pipeline,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

    Tougher lending standards

    New post-crash mortgages must adhere to stricter standards and are subsequently performing much better, Blomquist says. The exception is FHA loans made in 2014.

    Blomquist says those loans aren't performing nearly as well, with a foreclosure rate higher than any year since 2009. He explains it by noting there was a gradual loosening of credit that year.

    Lenient lending standards in the early 2000s, along with a large number of subprime mortgages, created a “foreclosure tsunami” that was out of control by 2007. A year later, one in every 538 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing during March 2008, a five percent rise over the previous month and a shocking 57 percent increase over March 2007.

    Now, applicants are required to have two solid years of employment history at the same company or in the same industry, have a good credit score, and a debt to income ratio of no more than 43 percent.

    According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), studies have shown that mortgage applicants with a higher debt-to-income are more likely to have trouble making their monthly mortgage payments.

    Benefits for homeowners

    At the height of the foreclosure crisis, buyers had a lot more homes to choose from than they do today. However, the decline in foreclosures has produced major benefits for homeowners. The housing market is now more stable and home prices have risen back to their pre-crash levels in many housing markets.

    Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, covering the Seattle market, says foreclosure activity there is at a record low.

    “As long as the regional economy continues to flourish, I do not expect to see foreclosures rise,” Gardner said.

    The current threat to the housing market, he says, is price growth, which is good for homeowners but has started to negatively affect affordability, and according to Gardner, “is becoming troublesome.”

    Foreclosure activity hit an 11-year low in this year's third quarter, as an improving economy and stricter mortgage standards helped stabilize the housing...
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    Home foreclosures down sharply in December

    Serious mortgage delinquencies were lower as well

    The number of completed foreclosures and the foreclosure rate skidded downward during the final month of 2016.

    Property information provider CoreLogic reports completed foreclosures plunged 40% in December from the same month a year earlier. That translates to a drop of 21,000 in December 2016 from 36,000 in December 2015 and a decrease of 82% from the peak of 118,336 in September 2010.

    During the same month, the foreclosure inventory was down 30%.

    The foreclosure inventory represents the number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process and completed foreclosures reflect the total number of homes lost to foreclosure.

    Since the start of the financial meltdown in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.5 million completed foreclosures nationally. Approximately 8.6 million homes have been lost to foreclosure since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004.

    As of last December, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 329,000, or 0.8%, of all homes with a mortgage.

    Mortgage delinquencies

    The number of mortgages in serious delinquency -- 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or REO -- fell 19.4% from December 2015. That means one million mortgages, or 2.6%, in serious delinquency -- the lowest level since August 2007. Decreases in serious delinquency were reported in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

    “While the decline in serious delinquency has been geographically broad, some oil-producing markets have shown the effects of low oil prices on the housing market,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Serious delinquency rates rose in Louisiana, Wyoming and North Dakota, reflecting the weakness in oil production.”

    Report highlights

    • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures fell 8.1% percent to 21,000 in December. As a basis of comparison, before the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged about 22,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
    • On a month-over-month basis, the December 2016 foreclosure inventory dipped 1.9%.
    • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in December 2016 were Florida (45,000), Michigan (30,000), Texas (24,000), Ohio (21,000), and California (19,000).These five states accounted for 36% of all completed foreclosures nationally.
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in December: North Dakota (182), the District of Columbia (254), West Virginia (312), Montana (630), and Alaska (668).
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate in December: New Jersey (2.8%), New York (2.7%), Maine (1.8%), Hawaii (1.7%), and the District of Columbia (1.6%).
    • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate in December 2016 were Colorado (0.2%), Minnesota (0.3%), Utah (0.3%), Arizona (0.3%), and California (0.3%).
    The number of completed foreclosures and the foreclosure rate skidded downward during the final month of 2016.Property information provider CoreLogic r...
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    Completed foreclosures plunge in November

    The foreclosure inventory was sharply lower as well

    The number of completed foreclosures nationwide posted a year-over-year decline of 25.9% in November to 26,000, according to property information provider CoreLogic. That represents a plunge of 78.2% from the peak of 118,339 in September 2010.

    At the same time, the foreclosure inventory -- the number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process -- declined by 30%.

    As of November, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 325,000, or 0.8%, of all homes with a mortgage, compared with 465,000 homes, or 1.2%, a year earlier.

    In addition, the number of mortgages in serious delinquency -- 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or REO – was down 22.1% from November 2015, with 1 million mortgages, or 2.5%, in serious delinquency. That's the lowest level since August 2007.

    "The decline in serious delinquency has been substantial, but the default rate remains high in select markets," said CoreLogic Chief Economist Dr. Frank Nothaft. "Serious delinquency rates were the highest in New Jersey and New York at 5.6% and 5%, respectively. In contrast, the lowest delinquency rate occurred in Colorado at 0.9% where a strong job market and home-price growth have enabled more homeowners to stay current."

    Report highlights

    • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures declined by 14.1% to 26,000 in November from the 30,000 reported for October. As a basis of comparison -- before the housing market crash in 2007 -- completed foreclosures averaged about 22,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
    • On a month-over-month basis, the November foreclosure inventory fell 2.4% compared with October.
    • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in November were Florida (48,000), Michigan (31,000), Texas (25,000), Ohio (22,000), and Georgia (20,000).These five states account for 36% of completed foreclosures nationally.
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in November: the District of Columbia (221), North Dakota (260), West Virginia (375), Alaska (616), and Montana (627).
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate in November: New Jersey (2.8%), New York (2.6%), Maine (1.7%), Hawaii (1.7%), and the District of Columbia (1.6%).
    • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate in November were Colorado (0.2%), Minnesota (0.3%), Arizona (0.3%), Utah (0.3%), and California (0.3%).
    The number of completed foreclosures nationwide posted a year-over-year decline of 25.9% in November to 26,000, according to property information provider...
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    Economy: Completed foreclosures, jobless claims down

    Serious mortgage delinquencies were lower as well

    Another month of declines in both completed foreclosures and the foreclosure inventory.

    Property information provider CoreLogic reports completed foreclosures declined by 7.0% in September from the same time a year ago, while the foreclosure inventory plunged 31.1%.

    The number of completed foreclosures nationwide was down year-over-year by 3,000 -- to 36,000 in September 2016, representing a drop of 69.7% from the peak of 118,222 in September 2010.

    The foreclosure inventory represents the number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process and completed foreclosures reflect the total number of homes lost to foreclosure.

    Since the financial meltdown began in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.4 million completed foreclosures nationally. Since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 8.5 million homes lost to foreclosure.

    As of September, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 340,000, or 0.9%, of all homes with a mortgage, versus 493,000 homes, or 1.3%, the year before.

    Mortgage delinquencies

    The number of mortgages in serious delinquency -- 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or REO -- plummeted 24.8% from September 2015 to September 2016, with 1 million mortgages, or 2.6%, in serious delinquency. That's the lowest level since August 2007. Decreases were seen in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

    “This improvement is continued evidence of the recovery in the housing market,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, “especially given that the decreases were fairly uniform in most cities across the country.”

    Report highlights

    • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures increased by 5.2% to 36,000 in September from the 34,000 reported for August. As a basis of comparison, before the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
    • The September foreclosure inventory was down 3.1% compared with August 2016.
    • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in September were Florida (53,000), Texas (27,000), Michigan (24,000), Ohio (23,000), and Georgia (21,000).These five states accounted for 36% of completed foreclosures nationally.
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in September: the District of Columbia (186), North Dakota (338), West Virginia (447), Alaska (643), and Montana (701).
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate in September: New Jersey (3.0%), New York (2.7%), Maine (1.8%), Hawaii (1.8%), and the District of Columbia (1.6%).
    • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate in September 2016 were Colorado (0.3%), Minnesota (0.3%), Arizona , Michigan, and Utah (all at 0.3%).

    Jobless claims

    The decline last week in first-time applications for state unemployment benefits more than wiped out the increase posted the previous week.

    The Department of Labor (DOL) reports initial jobless claims were down by 11,000 in the week ending November 5 to a seasonally adjusted 254,000.

    It's now been 88 straight weeks that claims have been below 300,000 the longest streak since 1970.

    The four-week moving average inched up 1,750 from a week earlier to 259,750. This measure is seen as a better gauge of the labor market as it lacks the volatility seen in the weekly headcount.

    The complete report may be found on the DOL website.

    Another month of declines in both completed foreclosures and the foreclosure inventory.Property information provider CoreLogic repo...
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    Foreclosures drop sharply in August

    Rates are the lowest in several years

    The nation's foreclosure inventory plunged 29.6% and completed foreclosures were down an even sharper 42.4% from a year earlier, according to the CoreLogic National Foreclosure Report.

    In another way of looking at it, the number of completed foreclosures nationwide posted a year-over-year decline of 27,000 -- to 37,000 in August 2016 -- representing a drop of 69% from the peak of 118,221 in September 2010.

    Foreclosure inventory

    The foreclosure inventory represents the number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process and completed foreclosures reflect the total number of homes lost to foreclosure.

    Since the financial meltdown began in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.4 million completed foreclosures nationally. Since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 8.5 million homes lost to foreclosure.

    As of last August, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 351,000, or 0.9%, of all homes with a mortgage. A year earlier, it was 499,000 homes, or 1.3%.

    The August 2016 foreclosure inventory rate is the lowest it’s been since July 2007.

    “With the foreclosure inventory now under 1% nationally, the need to boost single-family housing stocks through new construction will become more acute in the coming months and years,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.

    Mortgage delinquencies

    In addition, CoreLogic reports the number of mortgages in serious delinquency was down 20.6% from August 2015, with 1.1 million mortgages, or 2.8%, being the lowest level since September 2007.

    The decline was broad-based with decreases in serious delinquency in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

    Report highlights

    • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures increased by 7.7% to 37,000 in August from the 34,000 reported for the previous month. As a basis of comparison, before the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
    • On a month-over-month basis, the August foreclosure inventory was down 3.2% from July.
    • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in August were Florida (55,000), Texas (27,000), Ohio (23,000), California (22,000), and Georgia (21,000).These five states account for about 35% of completed foreclosures nationally.
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in August 2016: the District of Columbia (212), North Dakota (341), West Virginia (469), Alaska (624), and Montana (717).
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate in August 2016: New Jersey (3.2%), New York (2.9%), Maine (1.8%), Hawaii (1.8%), and the District of Columbia (1.8%).
    • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate in August 2016 were Colorado, Minnesota, Arizona, Utah, and Michigan -- all at 0.3%.
    The nation's foreclosure inventory plunged 29.6% and completed foreclosures were down an even sharper 42.4% from a year earlier, according to the CoreLogic...
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    Foreclosure inventory, completed foreclosures down again in July

    Serious mortgage delinquencies continued their decline

    The number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process -- the foreclosure inventory -- was down in July, as was the number of completed foreclosures, which reflects the total number of homes lost to foreclosure.

    Property information provider CoreLogic reports last month's inventory plunged 29.1% and completed foreclosures declined by 16.5% compared with July 2015. The latter translates to a year-over-year decline from 41,000 in July 2015 to 34,000 in July 2016, representing a decrease of 71.2% from the peak of 118,009 in September 2010.

    Since the start of the financial meltdown in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.4 million completed foreclosures nationally, and since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 8.5 million homes lost to foreclosure.

    As of this past July, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 355,000, or 0.9%, of all homes with a mortgage versus 501,000 homes, or 1.3%, in July 2015. The latest July foreclosure inventory rate is the lowest for any month since August 2007.

    "Loan modifications, foreclosures and stronger housing and labor markets have each played a role in bringing the foreclosure rate to the lowest level in nine years," said CoreLogic Chief Economist Dr. Frank Nothaft. "The U.S. Treasury's Making Home Affordable program has contributed to the decline through permanent modifications, forbearance and foreclosure alternatives which have assisted 2.5 million homeowners with first mortgages at risk of foreclosure since 2009."

    CoreLogic also reports that the number of mortgages in serious delinquency -- 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or REO -- were down 17.3% from July 2015 to July 2016, with 1.1 million mortgages, or 2.9%, in this category. The decline was broad-based, with declines in 47 states and the District of Columbia.

    Report highlights

    • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures decreased by 6.8% to 34,000 in July 2016 from the 36,000 reported for June 2016. As a basis of comparison, before the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
    • On a month-over-month basis, the foreclosure inventory was down 3.9% from June.
    • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in July 2016 were Florida (57,000), Michigan (45,000), Texas (27,000), Ohio (23,000), and California (21,000). These five states account for almost 40% of all completed foreclosures nationally.
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures: DC (207), North Dakota (324), West Virginia (488), Alaska (635), and Montana (700).
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate: New Jersey (3.3%), New York (3%), Hawaii (1.8%), Maine (1.8%), and the District of Columbia (1.8%).
    • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate were Colorado, Minnesota, Utah, Arizona, and Alaska -- all at 0.3%.
    The number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process -- the foreclosure inventory -- was down in July, as was the number of completed foreclosures,...
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    Number of homes in foreclosure drops sharply in June

    Completed foreclosures were down as well

    The nation continues to crawl out of the hole created by the previous decade's housing meltdown.

    Property information provider CoreLogic reports the foreclosure inventory plunged 25.9% in June from the same time last year, while completed foreclosures were down 4.9%. The number of completed foreclosures as of this past June (38,000) represents a decline of 67.5% from the peak (117,835) in September 2010.

    Since the bottom fell out in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.3 million completed foreclosures nationally, with approximately 8.4 million homes lost to foreclosure since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004.

    Roughly 375,000, or 1.0%, of all homes with a mortgage were in some stage of the foreclosure process in June, putting the foreclosure inventory rate at the lowest point for any month since August 2007.

    Serious delinquencies

    In addition, the number of mortgages in serious delinquency -- 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or REO -- posted a year-over-year decline of 21.3% in June, for a rate of 2.8%, the lowest in nearly nine years.

    “Mortgage loan performance depends on the economic health of local markets, with varied differences even within a state,” said CoreLogic Chief Economist Dr. Frank Nothaft. “Within Texas, the serious delinquency rate in the Dallas metropolitan area has fallen by 0.5% from a year earlier, as home prices and employment have continued to rise. The rate in the Midland area, on the other hand, has jumped 0.5%, reflecting the weakness in oil production and job loss over the past year.”

    Report highlights

    • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures rose 5.1% to 38,000 in June 2016 from a year earlier. As a basis of comparison, before the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
    • On a month-over-month basis, the foreclosure inventory was down 3.6%.
    • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the 12 months ending in June were Florida (60,000), Michigan (47,000), Texas (27,000), Ohio (23,000), and California (22,000). These five states account for almost 40% of all completed foreclosures nationally.
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures: The District of Columbia (179), North Dakota (321), West Virginia (487), Alaska (639), and Montana (675).
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate: New Jersey (3.4%), New York (3.1%), the District of Columbia (2%), Hawaii (2%), and Maine (1.9%).
    • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate were Colorado (0.3%), Michigan (0.3%), Minnesota (0.3%), Nebraska (0.3%), and Utah (0.3%).
    The nation continues to crawl out of the hole created by the previous decade's housing meltdown.Property information provider CoreLogic reports the for...
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    Foreclosure inventories plunge in May

    Completed foreclosures were lower as well

    The inventory of foreclosed homes fell sharply during May according to the CoreLogic National Foreclosure Report.

    The property information provider says the number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process was down 24.5% from the same month a year ago, while completed foreclosures fell by 6.9% year-over-year.

    The decline in completed foreclosures nationwide works out to 38,000 last May from 41,000 in May 2015. That represents a drop of 67.9% from the peak of 117,813 in September 2010.

    Since the financial meltdown began in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.3 million completed foreclosures nationally, and since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 8.3 million homes lost to foreclosure.

    "The foreclosure rate fell to 1% in May, which is twice the long-term average of 0.5%. However, this masks the underlying progress at the state level," said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Twenty-nine states had foreclosure rates below the national average, and all but North Dakota experienced declines in their foreclosure rate compared to the prior year."

    Mortgage delinquencies

    CoreLogic also reports the number of mortgages in serious delinquency (defined as 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or Real Estate Owned) declined by 21.6% from May 2015 to May 2016, with 1.1 million mortgages, or 2.8%, in this category. The May 2016 serious delinquency rate is the lowest since October 2007.

    "Delinquency and foreclosure rates continue to drop as we experience the benefits of a combination of tight underwriting, job and income growth and a steady rise in home prices,” said CoreLogic President and CEO Anand Nallathambi. “We expect these factors to remain in place for the remainder of this year and for delinquency and foreclosure rates to decline even further."

    Report highlights

    • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures increased by 5.5% to 38,000 in May 2016 from April. As a basis of comparison, before the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
    • On a month-over-month basis, the foreclosure inventory was down 3.0%.
    • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures were Florida (63,000), Michigan (45,000), Texas (27,000), Ohio (23,000), and California (23,000).These five states account for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures: the District of Columbia (139), North Dakota (323), West Virginia (494), Alaska (648) and Montana (690).
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate: New Jersey (3.6%), New York (3.2%), Hawaii (2.1%), the District of Columbia (2.0%), and Maine (1.9%).
    • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate were Alaska (0.3%), Arizona (0.3%), Colorado (0.3%), Minnesota (0.3%), and Utah (0.3%).
    The inventory of foreclosed homes fell sharply during May according to the CoreLogic National Foreclosure Report.The property information provider says...
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    The decline in foreclosures continues

    The foreclosure inventory was down sharply

    Global property information provider CoreLogic reports completed foreclosures across the country fell 15.8% in April -- to 37,000 from 43,000 a year earlier. Since the peak of 117,813 in September 2010, completed foreclosures are down 68.9%.

    In addition, the foreclosure inventory was down 23.4% from April 2015. Completed foreclosures reflect the total number of homes lost to foreclosure, while the foreclosure inventory represents the number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process.

    Since the financial meltdown began in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.2 million completed foreclosures nationally, and since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 8.3 million homes lost to foreclosure.

    As of this past April, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 406,000, or 1.1% percent, of all homes with a mortgage. A year earlier, it was 530,000 homes, or 1.4%. The April 2016 foreclosure inventory rate is the lowest for any month since September 2007.

    Serious deliquencies

    The number of mortgages in serious delinquency -- 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or Real Estate Owned -- dropped 21.6% from April 2015 to April 2016, with 1.1 million mortgages, or 3%, in this category. The April 2016 serious delinquency rate is the lowest since October 2007.

    “The recovery in home prices and improved labor market have contributed to the drop in seriously delinquent rates,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Over the 12 months through April, the CoreLogic Home Price Index for the U.S. rose 6.2 % and the labor market gained 2.6 million jobs. We also found that the seriously delinquent rate fell by about three-quarters of a percentage point.”

    Report highlights

    • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures rose 0.3% to 37,000 in April. As a basis of comparison, before the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
    • On a month-over-month basis, the foreclosure inventory was down 3% compared with March 2016.
    • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in March 2016 were Florida (69,000), Michigan (48,000), Texas (28,000), Georgia (23,000), and California (23,000). These five accounted for about 41% of all completed foreclosures nationally.
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures: The District of Columbia (128), North Dakota (317), West Virginia (482), Alaska (653), and Montana (695).
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate: New Jersey (3.7%), New York (3.2%), Hawaii (2.2%), the District of Columbia (2.1%), and Florida (2%).
    • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate were Alaska (0.3%), Minnesota (0.3%), Utah (0.4%, Arizona (0.4%), and Colorado (0.4%).
    Global property information provider CoreLogic reports completed foreclosures across the country fell 15.8% in April -- to 37,000 from 43,000 a year earlie...
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    Completed foreclosures decline in March

    The foreclosure inventory was lower as well

    The number of completed foreclosures and the foreclosure inventory were lower in March from the same month in 2015.

    Property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider CoreLogic reports completed foreclosures fell 14.9% from March 2015, and are down 69.7% from the peak in September 2010.

    The foreclosure inventory, which represents the number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process, dropped 23.2% from the same time a year ago.

    On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures rose 9.3% from February, while inventories were down 2.2%.

    Since the financial meltdown began in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.2 million completed foreclosures nationally; and since home-ownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 8.2 million homes lost to foreclosure.

    Report highlights

    • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in March 2016 were Florida (69,000), Michigan (48,000), Texas (28,000), Georgia (23,000), and California (23,000). These five states accounted for about 41% of all completed foreclosures nationally.
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in March 2016: The District of Columbia (114), North Dakota (311), West Virginia (541), Wyoming (634), and Alaska (644).
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes in March 2016: New Jersey (4.0%), New York (3.3%, Hawaii (2.3%), the District of Columbia (2.2%), and Florida (2.1%).
    • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate in March 2016 were Alaska (0.3%), Minnesota (0.4%), Arizona (0.4%), Colorado (0.4%), and Utah (0.4%).
    The number of completed foreclosures and the foreclosure inventory were lower in March from the same month in 2015.Property information, analytics and ...
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    Feds address the lingering underwater mortgage issue

    FHFA program will reduce amount owed on nearly 33,000 mortgages

    The housing crisis has been over for years, but millions of homeowners are still underwater on their mortgages and many of them are struggling to make payments.

    The government's previous mortgage modification efforts produced questionable results, but now the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the main regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will help some “seriously delinquent” underwater homeowners to avoid foreclosure.

    The FHFA has announced it will allow Fannie and Freddie to reduce the amount owed on some mortgages, a move estimated to provide relief to about 33,000 homeowners.

    The agency says it is a one-time offer for borrowers who have Fannie or Freddie-backed mortgages and who meet specific eligibility criteria. They must be owner-occupants who were at least 90 days delinquent on their mortgages on March 1.

    Additionally, the outstanding balance on the mortgage must be no more than $250,000.

    Could help both families and communities

    Mike Calhoun, President of the Center for Responsible Lending, said the action has the potential to help both struggling families and hard-hit communities.

    “The new program recognizes the value of principal reduction as an important tool that helps to keep families in their homes and reduces the cost of foreclosures,” Calhoun said in a statement emailed to ConsumerAffairs. “Up until now, this effective loan modification tool was not available to homeowners whose mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

    Early loan modification efforts often left struggling homeowners frustrated by loan servicers' repeated requests for the same documents. In many cases, by the time homeowners had gathered all the requested material, their homes were in foreclosure. Rarely, if ever, did a modification include a reduction in principal on a loan.

    Still a problem

    FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt expects it to be different this time, noting that while the national housing market appears to have recovered, negative equity remains a real problem.

    "The Principal Reduction Modification program we are announcing today, along with the changes we are making to our NPL sales guidelines, will allow an opportunity for delinquent, underwater borrowers in these areas to avoid foreclosure and save their homes," he said in a release.

    While 33,000 homeowners may get relief under the new modification program, it is the tip of a very large iceberg. A recent report by Zillow found more than more than six million homeowners are still underwater on their mortgages, making up 13.1% of homeowners with a mortgage. More than 820,000 homeowners still owe over twice as much on their mortgages as their homes are worth.

    The housing crisis has been over for years, but millions of homeowners are still underwater on their mortgages and many of them are struggling to make paym...
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    Completed foreclosures down again in December

    Foreclosure inventories were lower as well

    The latest National Foreclosure Report from CoreLogic shows completed foreclosures posted a year-over-year decline of 22.6% in December -- from 41,000 to 32,000 -- and are down 72.8% from their September 2010 peak of 117,722.

    In addition, the property information, analytics, and data-enabled services provider reports the foreclosure inventory that same month dropped 23.8%. The foreclosure inventory represents the number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process and completed foreclosures reflect the total number of homes lost to foreclosure.

    Since the beginning of the financial meltdown in September 2008, there have been approximately 6.1 million completed foreclosures across the country. And since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been about 8 million homes lost to foreclosure.

    As of this past December, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 433,000, or 1.1%, of all homes with a mortgage, compared with 568,000 homes, or 1.5% the year before. The December 2015 foreclosure inventory rate is the lowest for any month since November 2007.

    “Reflecting on the full-year foreclosure results for 2015, we can see that completed foreclosures are down more than 20% for the year, which is the lowest level since 2006, before the crisis,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Maryland, which can be described as a suburb of the solid D.C. market, led the way with a 59% decline in foreclosures in 2015.”

    CoreLogic also reports that the number of mortgages in serious delinquency (defined as 90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure or real estate owned) declined by 23.3% from December 2014 to December 2015, with 1.2 million mortgages, or 3.2%, in this category. The December 2015 serious delinquency rate is the lowest in eight years.

    “The supply of distressed inventory continues to shrink rapidly. While this is positive for the housing market overall, it also drives a decline in the inventory of affordable for-sale homes,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “The lack of housing stock, particularly affordable inventory, is a growing issue and will limit a full housing recovery in the short to medium term.”

    Report highlights:

    • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures declined by 5.6% to 32,000 in December 2015 from the 34,000 reported in November 2015. As a basis of comparison, before the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
    • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in December 2015 were Florida (79,000), Michigan (50,000), Texas (30,000), Ohio (24,000), and Georgia (24,000). These five states accounted for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in December 2015: the District of Columbia (81), North Dakota (220), Wyoming (541), West Virginia (560), and Alaska (700).
    • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate in December 2015: New Jersey (4.2%), New York (3.5%), Hawaii (2.4%), the District of Columbia (2.3%), and Florida (2.3%).
    • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate in December 2015 were Alaska (0.3%), Minnesota (0.3%), Colorado (0.4%), Arizona (0.4%), and Utah (0.4%).
    The latest National Foreclosure Report from CoreLogic shows completed foreclosures posted a year-over-year decline of 22.6% in December -- from 41,000 to 3...
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