The following are some facts and statistics about the real estate market and the government’s efforts in putting together effective plans to address the foreclosure crisis. Despite the government’s programs, starting in October 2007, and continuing with the latest plan released earlier this year, the foreclosure rate has kept up its dramatic increase.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, more than one in every subprime mortgage loan was in foreclosure as of the fourth quarter of 2008. This is 13.71 percent of subprime loans, compared to prime loans in foreclosure at a rate of only 1.88% as of the same time.
Furthermore, more than one third of all subprime adjustable rate loans, as of the final quarter of 2008, were in a state of serious delinquency. This is more than three times the rate of delinquency for prime adjustable rate mortgages.
Under a new incentive program, Fannie Mae has begun paying attorneys who are able to qualify delinquent borrowers for loan modifications, repayment plans, or similar workout solutions as an alternative to foreclosing.
Due to the high rate of foreclosure, most workout plans are taking at least thirty days to be processed by lenders and servicing companies. Homeowners and those working for them should be aware of this significant time lag, especially if a foreclosure sale is on the horizon. It may be best to obtain a delay of any sheriff sale in order to apply for assistance without the threat of losing the home in a short period of time.
As early as October and December 2007, the US Treasury Department was putting together plans to solve the rising foreclosure rates on an industry-wide, voluntary basis. Unfortunately, as the number of people seriously behind in their mortgages kept increasing, no more resources were dedicated to assisting these borrowers, and delays led to more foreclosures.
Thus far, there have been at least five different programs to help homeowners stop foreclosure. These have been the Making Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), Making Home Affordable Refinance Program, Hope for Homeowners (H4H), HOPE NOW also known as the American Securitization Forum Plan, and Project Lifeline. Thus far, all have failed to seriously affect the foreclosure rate.
As foreclosures keep rising, the cheap money policies of the Federal Reserve, combined with the poor to nonexistent lending standards of the banks have proven to have far more negative impacts on the economy than any bureaucrat or regulator anticipated. Unfortunately, more cheap money policies have been some of the only fixes proposed and provided by the government, which has caused further downward pressure on the economy.
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