Hot Housing Market Keeps Foreclosures at Bay
Homeowners who have hit hard times face foreclosure, but most now also have lots of equity and they’re selling rather than going into foreclosure.
NEW YORK – The hot housing market keeps many delinquent mortgage borrowers from being foreclosed, with their home values often exceeding their mortgage principal. As a result, strong home prices and tight inventory frequently give homeowners the option to sell before facing foreclosure. In addition, federal forbearance programs and other safeguards offer them some breathing room.
Although foreclosure starts have risen since the moratorium ended last July, the current number is still roughly half of what it was for the same period in 2019 and about a tenth of the peak during the 2007-09 recession, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index estimated that single-family home prices in major metros climbed around 33% in the two years ended February; price drivers included urban renters moving to buy more spacious suburban homes, long-term government stimulus, and a rapid economic rebound following COVID-19 lockdowns.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) forecasts a 9% annual decline in housing demand, although home prices are unlikely to fall due to limited housing supply caused by labor shortages and limitation of buildable lots.
ATTOM’s Rick Sharga noted the pandemic-fueled job losses disproportionately impacted younger, lower-wage non-homeowners, while the persistence of elevated inflation means lower-income mortgage borrowers with little financial buffers could face a higher risk of default.
Source: Wall Street Journal (06/19/22) Matsuda, Akiko
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