NEW YORK, N.Y. (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — ForeclosureDataOnline reports more dark days ahead for the housing market and for homeowners concerned about losing their homes. The data collected by the site shows that foreclosure levels continue to rise and are reaching record highs, particularly in states such as Michigan, California, and Florida.
The Mortgage Bankers Association released the National Delinquency Survey last week. The survey reported that the increase in foreclosure rates between quarters has reached its highest point since 1972 when the records were first kept. The increase in foreclosures on first time mortgages increased by 36 percent between the first quarter 2008 and first quarter 2009.
Foreclosure rates have also increased in many major cities around the country, including Dallas (7.75 percent), Fort Worth (6.16 percent), Detroit (4 percent), and Cleveland (3 percent). Throughout the country, more than 600,000 mortgages have been affected by foreclosure actions.
In related news, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were given authorization by the Federal Housing Finance Agency to refinance mortgages through the Home Affordable Refinance Program for properties that are now worth a great deal less than what is owed on the property. The difference between value and outstanding debt can now be as high as 25 percent even though the program was originally only for homes valued at 5 percent less than their outstanding mortgage debt.
This change in policy comes at a time when home prices have plummeted. According to ForeclosureDatonline.com, nationally, prices have fallen by one-third since 2006. In key cities, prices have dropped significantly in just the last month: Chicago (1.8 percent), Atlanta (less than 1 percent), Houston (less than 1 percent), and Denver (3.7 percent).
While the change may provide some temporary relief for homeowners, the continuing economic problems facing the country, such as the 9.4 percent unemployment rate, may lead to higher levels of foreclosures in the coming months.