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Mortgage Delinquencies Rise to Record as U.S. Home Prices Fall
Great Depression
Bloomberg News reports that Americans fell behind on their mortgage payments at a record pace in the second quarter as job losses and falling real estate prices thwarted government efforts to stabilize the housing market.

The share of loans with one or more payments overdue rose to a seasonally adjusted 9.24 percent of all mortgages, an all- time high, from 9.12 percent in the first quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in a report today. The inventory of homes in foreclosure increased to 4.3 percent, the most in three decades of data, and loans overdue by at least 90 days, the point at which foreclosure proceedings typically begin, rose to 7.97 percent, the highest on record.

“We’ve seen a significant drop in the problem with subprime loans and we’ve moved now to a problem with prime fixed-rate loans,” Jay Brinkmann, the Washington-based trade group’s chief economist, said in an interview. “Job losses are driving it, and we expect that to continue into next year.”

Homeowners fall behind on their mortgage payments when they lose their jobs, and falling prices mean they can’t sell and pay off their loans, Brinkmann said. Companies have shed 5.7 million jobs since January 2008, the biggest employment loss since the Great Depression. The median U.S. home price fell 16 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the steepest drop on record, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions were started was 1.36 percent, down from 1.37 percent in the first quarter, driven by the decline in subprime loans. New foreclosures on prime loans increased to 1.01 percent from 0.94 percent, while subprime loans dropped to 4.13 percent from 4.65 percent, Brinkmann said.

Read the entire report here


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