Housing Market Tracker - Struggling States Offer More Foreclosure Help

by: Judy Weil

Quotes of the Day

"People can't keep their houses because they can't afford the monthly mortgage payments, they can't refinance because there's no equity in the house, and they don't qualify for a loan… More and more people are coming up in front of me and saying, 'I'm surrendering my house to the bank.” - Attorney David Madoff, a US Bankruptcy Court trustee in Boston who oversees some 600 cases a year. (Boston Globe, Mar. 11th)

"There's a reduction in revenues at the same time that more services are needed.” - Cynthia McCollum, president of the National League of Cities and councilwoman in Madison, Ala., a suburb of Huntsville. "Because of foreclosures, people are stealing, crime is on the rise and we don't have more money for cops on the street." (USA Today, Mar. 11th)

Foreclosure Data

Foreclosure Crisis Has Ripple Effect. “National League of Cities survey: The mortgage foreclosure crisis has caused a drop in cities' revenues, a spike in crime, more homelessness and an increase in vacant properties… About two-thirds of 211 officials surveyed reported an increase in foreclosures in their cities in the past year… A third of them reported a drop in revenues and an increase in abandoned and vacant properties and urban blight… More than a fifth of city officials responding said homelessness and the need for temporary and emergency housing increased in the past year. (USA Today, Mar. 11th)

Colorado's Foreclosure Rate Viewed Several Ways. “The Mortgage Bankers Association ranked Colorado No. 24 in the nation for "seriously delinquent" loans in Q4 and No. 15 in 2006… RealtyTrac group… said that Colorado was No. 5 in the nation for foreclosure rates last year and No. 1 in 2006… Colorado Division of Real Estate: There were 39,915 foreclosures in Colorado in 2007, 40% higher than the 28,509 in 2006. MBA: 32,040 loans in Colorado, or 3.08% of the 1.04 million loans tracked by the mortgage industry trade group, were delinquent for 90 days or more… RealtyTrac, said [it] compared the number of properties in foreclosures as a percentage of households, while the MBA tracks the percentage of loans in delinquency.” (Rocky Mountain News, Mar. 11th)

Pittsburgh Offers Home Foreclosure Help. “Mayor Luke Ravenstahl: Homeowners in seven Pittsburgh neighborhoods have the highest mortgage foreclosure rates in the city, ranging as high as one for each 140 households… Foreclosure rates in Chartiers City, Sheraden, Elliott, Perry Hilltop, Allentown, Knoxville and Mt. Oliver ranged from 3.8 to 7.1 for each 1,000 households… followed by 20 other neighborhoods with rates ranging from 2.5 to 3.7 per 1,000 households… Mortgage insurance company PMI Group (PMI) [figures] showed Pittsburgh tied for No. 1 as the "least risky" housing market in the nation, with about 1,200 foreclosures in 2007, down about 15% from 2006.” (Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Mar. 11th)

Many More Going Bankrupt. “Massachusetts filings in US Bankruptcy Court increased to 2,493 (up 22%) between Jan. 1-March 5, from 2,039 during the same period a year ago. Filings were also up sharply for all of 2007 compared with the previous year, despite a 2005 law change that was intended to reduce the number of bankruptcies. Lawyers, trustees, and other bankruptcy specialists said the housing crisis is the single biggest reason that personal bankruptcy filings are rising rapidly... Lenders also seized 7,653 homes from Massachusetts borrowers - more than double 2006 seizures.” (Boston Globe, Mar. 11th)

City Will Offer Funds To Assist Families In Foreclosure. “St. Louis, Missouri Mayor Francis Slay: The city will make the first contribution to a “rescue fund” to help troubled borrowers stay in their homes. The one-time contribution of $500,000 will be used to make grants of up to $1,500 to families that need help coming up with money needed to refinance, modify loans or bring their payments up to date. Jeff Rainford, the mayor’s chief of staff, said the city hopes the funds will help as many as 1,000 city residents. Half of the money will come from the Affordable Housing Commission and half from general revenue.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mar. 11th)

Foreclosure Auction Draws Deal Seekers. “It was a multi-house auction yesterday at Walter E. Washington Convention Center, fueled by the skyrocketing numbers of local foreclosures… More than 200 homes… in the District, Maryland and Virginia went on the block... All the homes had been foreclosed on and were owned by banks trying to recoup some of their losses, according to Real Estate Disposition, which ran the auction… The first house on the block yesterday was a renovated three-bedroom, two-bath brick rowhouse with a porch on Quincy Place NE in the District. The house had been previously valued at $435,000… The starting bid was $139,000.” (Washington Post, Mar. 10th)

Minnesota Subprime Foreclosure Deferment Act Of 2008 Gives State Homeowners Year's Respite. “The Minnesota Subprime Foreclosure Deferment Act of 2008 — carried in the Senate by Sen, Ellen Anderson, DFL-St. Paul — does not financially unburden homeowners… But it does seek to give them a year’s deferment from foreclosure… “At a minimum they’ll (strapped homeowners) be no worse off a year from now they are now,” said Anderson. It’s estimated that 33,000 Minnesotans could face foreclosure during 2008, she said… The foreclosure deferment legislation would apply to subprime or negative amortization loans closed after Jan. 1, 2001-Aug. 1, 2007.” (Hometown Source, Mar. 10th)

As Auctions' Popularity Rises, 100 Foreclosed South Florida Homes Go On The Block Sunday. “As South Florida's housing slump deepens, desperate sellers are turning to auctions as a way to peddle their properties. A California company [Monday] auctioned roughly 100 foreclosed homes in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, with starting bids from $25,000 to $625,000… All the properties are vacant, and some are in rough shape. In each case the lender is looking to unload and move on." (Florida Sun-Sentinel, Mar. 9th)

Foreclosures: Worse And Worser. “The rate of mortgages entering foreclosure hit its highest recorded level, and loans past-due hit 20-year highs. During Q4, 0.83% of all loans entered foreclosure, up from 0.78% and 0.54% in the previous quarter/year. 2.04% of all loans are in foreclosure, vs. 1.69% and 1.19%. With delinquency rates now at 5.82% (up from 5.59% and 4.95%) -- expect more of the same.” (Eli Hoffmann in Seeking Alpha, Mar. 7th)

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