NPR logo Mortgage Deliquencies, Foreclosures Hit Record 12%

Mortgage Deliquencies, Foreclosures Hit Record 12%

A home for sale in Blue Island, Ill. AP Photo/M. Spencer Green hide caption

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AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

A lot of housing data out today and none of it is good.

New data from the Mortgage Bankers Association suggest the nation's housing crisis is spreading, with 12 percent of the nation's mortgage holders either falling behind in their mortgage payments or being in foreclosure, as even borrowers with previously good credit are now in arrears on their most important purchase.

Job losses appear to be fueling some of the latest trouble which experts had predicted last year. They also forecast that the foreclosure crisis would worsen this year as so called option adjustable rate mortgages reset to higher interest rates that made them harder to pay, even by .

Those resets spread the pain beyond the less creditworthy customers who received subprime loans and were among the first casualties after the credit-bubble burst in August 2007.

Here's an Associated Press Report:

NEW YORK (AP) - A record 12 percent of homeowners with a mortgage are behind on their payments or in foreclosure as the housing crisis spreads to borrowers with good credit. And the wave of foreclosures isn't expected to crest until the end of next year, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Thursday.

The foreclosure rate on prime fixed-rate loans doubled in the last year, and now represents the largest share of new foreclosures. Nearly 6 percent of fixed-rate mortgages to borrowers with good credit were in the foreclosure process.

At the same time, almost half of all adjustable-rate loans made to borrowers with shaky credit were past due or in foreclosure. The worst of the trouble continues to be centered in California,
Nevada, Arizona and Florida, which accounted for 46 percent of new foreclosures in the country. There were no signs of improvement.

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Meanwhile, the Census Bureau and the Housing Urban and Development Department reported jointly (are they teaming up to save money?) their estimate that April sales of single-family homes rose 0.3 percent from March.

While that number is being reported as a marginal increase (hooray!) the margin of error of plus-minus 14.5 percent means that this is not exactly a number to hang one's hat on.

Sales of new one-family houses in April 2009 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 352,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This is 0.3 percent (??14.5%)* above the revised March rate of 351,000, but is 34.0 percent (??11.0%) below the April 2008 estimate of 533,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2009 was $209,700; the average sales price was $254,000. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of April was 297,000. This represents a supply of 10.1 months at the current sales rate.

The more significant datapoint is that the sale of single family homes plummeted 34 percent (plus-minus 11 percentage points) from the year-ago period. And that was from a weak year-ago period.

So in these data there are absolutely no signs of a housing turnaround. And many experts believe that the overall economy won't bounce back until housing does.