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Delinquencies, New Foreclosures Fall: Is this the Beginning of the End?

The national residential delinquency rate and new foreclosures initiated both dropped in the fourth quarter. Is it a sign that the industry has finally turned the corner on the housing crisis? The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) says yes. ""We are likely seeing the beginning of the end,"" Jay Brinkmann, MBA's chief economist, said. According to MBA, the delinquency rate has fallen to 9.47 percent, down 17 basis points from the third quarter of 2009. Foreclosure starts are down 22 basis points.

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Homeowners Pessimistic on Property Values: Zillow

American homeowners have historically been particularly sanguine about real estate values, making their perceptions far from the reality of late. But the severity of the housing downturn appears to be finally setting in for homeowners nationwide, according to a new report from real estate data provider Zillow. Just one in five believe their property value increased during 2009, but Zillow says in fact, 28 percent of homes appreciated during the year.

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Study Examines Effects of Foreclosure on Latino Families

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for Community Capital have released a study which uses interviews with Latino families who have suffered a foreclosure to shed light on the damage inflicted by the loss of their home.

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Wells Fargo Doubles Permanent HAMP Modifications

Wells Fargo & Co. announced Wednesday that as of January 31, 2010, it had 137,128 active trial and completed modifications in place under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Of these, 17,652 were permanent modifications--double the number of permanent modifications reported as of the end of December, and 7,554 were permanent modifications pending completion.

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Foreclosure Activity in California is Up Again as Stalemate Continues

With hundreds of thousands of California homeowners in foreclosure, a stalemate continues as only a small percentage reach the end of the process and the time to foreclose stretches. New data from locally-based ForecloureRadar shows that the time from notice of default to trustee sale in California has increased from 146 days in August 2008, to 229 days in January 2010, because lenders are increasingly delaying foreclosures to work through loan modifications and other foreclosure alternatives.

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Year-Over-Year Home Prices Exhibit ‘Improving Declines’

As the real estate market retreats further from the period of peak distress in home prices, declines are beginning to narrow, according to data released Thursday by First American CoreLogic. On a year-over-year basis, national home prices declined 3.7 percent in December--a notable improvement over November's 5.3 percent drop. According to First American's forecast, home price declines are expected to continue into the spring months, but close out the year with a modest gain.

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Mortgage Rates Near Record Lows: Freddie Mac

Amid stabilization within the housing market, Freddie Mac reported Thursday that mortgage rates continued to inch down this week, hovering near record lows, with 30-year rates falling to 4.93 percent. ""Mortgage rates eased for the second week, while economic data releases suggest that the housing market may be in a slow state of recovery,"" said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac VP and chief economist.

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Foreclosure.com Awards Scholarships for Solutions to Foreclosure Crisis

More than 1,000 current and college-bound students nationwide answered the call during the 2009 Foreclosure.com scholarship program, submitting essays on ""How to Solve the Foreclosure Crisis."" The Florida-based company awarded a total of $9,000 in scholarships to five students for their innovative ideas on how to curb the distress in the housing market.

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