The health crisis we face as a country has led businesses all over the nation to reduce or discontinue their services altogether. This pause in the economy has greatly impacted the workforce and as a result, many people have been laid off or furloughed. Naturally, that would lead many to believe we might see a rush of foreclosures like we saw in 2008. The market today, however, is very different from 2008.
The concern of more foreclosures based on those that are out of work is one that we need to understand fully. There are two reasons we won’t see a rush of foreclosures this fall: forbearance extension options and strong homeowner equity.
1. Forbearance Extension
Forbearance, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is “when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to temporarily pay your mortgage at a lower payment or pause paying your mortgage.” This is an option for those who need immediate relief. In today’s economy, the CFPB has given homeowners a way to extend their forbearance, which will greatly assist those families who need it at this critical time.
Under the CARES Act, the CFPB notes:
“If you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request and obtain a forbearance for up to 180 days. You also have the right to request and obtain an extension for up to another 180 days (for a total of up to 360 days).”
2. Strong Homeowner Equity
Equity is also working in favor of today’s homeowners. This savings is another reason why we won’t see substantial foreclosures in the near future. Today’s homeowners who are in forbearance actually have more equity in their homes than what the market experienced in 2008.
The Mortgage Monitor report from Black Knight indicates that of all active forbearances which are past due on their mortgage payment, 77% have at least 20% equity in their homes (See graph below):Black Knight notes:
“The high level of equity provides options for homeowners, policymakers, mortgage investors and servicers in helping to avoid downstream foreclosure activity and default-related losses.”
Many think we may see a rush of foreclosures this fall, but the facts just don’t add up in this case. Today’s real estate market is very different from 2008 when we saw many homeowners walk away when they owed more than their homes were worth. This time, equity is stronger and plans are in place to help those affected weather the storm.
There’s No Foreclosure Wave in Sight [INFOGRAPHIC]
- Headlines saying foreclosures are rising might make you feel uneasy. But the truth is, there’s no need to worry.
- If you look at the latest numbers, they’re still below pre-pandemic norms and way below what happened during the crash.
- If you’re worried about a flood of foreclosures, the data shows a foreclosure crisis is not where the market is today and is not where it’s headed.
Foreclosure Activity Is Still Lower than the Norm
Have you seen headlines talking about the increase in foreclosures in today’s housing market? If so, they may leave you feeling a bit uneasy about what’s ahead. But remember, these clickbait titles don’t always give you the full story.
The truth is, if you compare the current numbers with what usually happens in the market, you’ll see there’s no need to worry.
Putting the Headlines into Perspective
The increase the media is calling attention to is misleading. That’s because they’re only comparing the most recent numbers to a time where foreclosures were at historic lows. And that’s making it sound like a bigger deal than it is.
In 2020 and 2021, the moratorium and forbearance program helped millions of homeowners stay in their homes, allowing them to get back on their feet during a very challenging period.
When the moratorium came to an end, there was an expected rise in foreclosures. But just because foreclosures are up doesn’t mean the housing market is in trouble.
Historical Data Shows There Isn’t a Wave of Foreclosures
Instead of comparing today’s numbers with the last few abnormal years, it’s better to compare to long-term trends – specifically to the housing crash – since that’s what people worry may happen again.
Take a look at the graph below. It uses foreclosure data from ATTOM, a property data provider, to show foreclosure activity has been consistently lower (shown in orange) since the crash in 2008 (shown in red):
So, while foreclosure filings are up in the latest report, it’s clear this is nothing like it was back then.
In fact, we’re not even back at the levels we’d see in more normal years, like 2019. As Rick Sharga, Founder and CEO of the CJ Patrick Company, explains:
“Foreclosure activity is still only at about 60% of pre-pandemic levels. . .”
That’s largely because buyers today are more qualified and less likely to default on their loans. Delinquency rates are still low and most homeowners have enough equity to keep them from going into foreclosure. As Molly Boesel, Principal Economist at CoreLogic, says:
“U.S. mortgage delinquency rates remained healthy in October, with the overall delinquency rate unchanged from a year earlier and the serious delinquency rate remaining at a historic low… borrowers in later stages of delinquencies are finding alternatives to defaulting on their home loans.”
The reality is, while increasing, the data shows a foreclosure crisis is not where the market is today, or where it’s headed.
Even though the housing market is experiencing an expected rise in foreclosures, it’s nowhere near the crisis levels seen when the housing bubble burst. If you have questions about what you’re hearing or reading about the housing market, connect with a real estate agent.
Foreclosures and Bankruptcies Won’t Crash the Housing Market
If you’ve been following the news recently, you might have seen articles about an increase in foreclosures and bankruptcies. That could be making you feel uneasy, especially if you’re thinking about buying or selling a house.
But the truth is, even though the numbers are going up, the data shows the housing market isn’t headed for a crisis.
Foreclosure Activity Rising, but Less Than Headlines Suggest
In recent years, the number of foreclosures has been very low. That’s because, in 2020 and 2021, the forbearance program and other relief options were put in place to help many homeowners stay in their homes during that tough time.
When the moratorium ended, there was an expected rise in foreclosures. But just because they’re up, that doesn’t mean the housing market is in trouble.
To help you see how much things have changed since the housing crash in 2008, check out the graph below using research from ATTOM, a property data provider. It looks at properties with a foreclosure filing going all the way back to 2005 to show that there have been fewer foreclosures since the crash.
As you can see, foreclosure filings are inching back up to pre-pandemic numbers, but they’re still way lower than when the housing market crashed in 2008. And today, the tremendous amount of equity American homeowners have in their homes can help people sell and avoid foreclosure.
The Increase in Bankruptcies Isn’t Dramatic Either
As you can see below, the financial trouble many industries and small businesses felt during the pandemic didn’t cause a dramatic increase in bankruptcies. Still, the number of bankruptcies has gone up slightly since last year, nearly returning to 2021 levels. But that isn’t cause for alarm.
The numbers for 2021 and 2022 were lower than more typical years. That’s in part because the government provided trillions of dollars in aid to individuals and businesses during the pandemic. So, let’s instead focus on the bar for this year and compare it to the bar on the far left (2019). It shows the number of bankruptcies today is still nowhere near where it was before the pandemic. Both of these two factors are reasons why the housing market isn’t in danger of crashing.
Right now, it’s crucial to understand the data. Foreclosures and bankruptcies are rising, but these leading indicators aren’t signaling trouble that would cause another crash.
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