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Lender initiated foreclosures fall to seven-year low

An individual might need a residential real estate attorney in a number of scenarios. Big events like a purchase or sale come to mind, but an attorney might also provide assistance for disputes involving property tax appeals or zoning issues.

An attorney might also provide advocacy for mortgage financing or refinancing. In the past few years, residential real estate property owners may have attempted a modification or refinancing of their mortgages to avoid delinquency or payment terms that had become unmanageable. Unfortunately, the spate of foreclosures in Massachusetts and across the country suggests that not all such attempts were successful.

But there may be good news: Lender initiated foreclosures in March 2014 were at their lowest level in over 7 years, involving 88,000 properties. Those numbers are in stark contrast to March 2009, when such foreclosures peaked at 316,000. 

In fact, the data is just one of several indices that the residential real estate market is improving. For example, the number of homeowners who are not current on their mortgage payments is also in decline. Only 5.5 percent of borrowers were past due by 30 or more days on their loans in March 2014, which is the lowest percentage since 2007.

Similarly, the number of homeowners with underwater mortgages, or a loan that exceeds the home’s market value, is also down from around 33 percent in March 2009 to about 10 percent. Home prices in many markets in Massachusetts and across the country are rebounding.

Yet despite the encouraging signs, the above data still represents pre-crisis levels. Change may be coming even in that regard, however. According to a recent article, the housing market may no longer be affected by oversupply. That, in turn, may mean that consumer demand may soon help to drive real estate prices back up.

Source: Wall Street Journal, “New Foreclosures Fall to Lowest Level Since 2006,” Nick Timiraos, May 5, 2014

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