Is This the Beginning of the End?
Of the mortgage foreclosure crisis, that is. Maybe. Or perhaps it’s just the end of the beginning. According to data released today by the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (MBA), the percentage of mortgage loans delinquent by at least one payment or in foreclosure declined for the first time since the beginning of 2006. In addition, the share of loans at least 30 or 60 days delinquent have been tracking lower since the first quarter of 2009. These two measures remain extremely high by historical standards, but the fact that these indicators have eased means the pool of potential foreclosures may be getting smaller. Or maybe not. Roughly 4.5 million mortgages are seriously delinquent (90 days or more) or in the foreclosure process—most of those loans are now prime loans—and the labor market still very weak. Moreover, concerns are mounting over a possible rising tide of “strategic defaults,” where otherwise financially sound borrowers simply walk away from homes that are far underwater. Good news to be sure from MBA, but the housing market will see problems linger for several more years.
02-19-2010 8:45 PM