Experts predict that a second round of foreclosures will hit this year. The news will likely discomfort many who are behind on their mortgage payments, especially when a year ago the housing market seemed to be moving in a positive direction.
House sales picked up across the country in 2011 and foreclosures slowed down as lenders cut back attempts to claim back sunken properties by more than one-third. But the one year recovery was just an anomaly, one expert says.
Lender Processing Services, a mortgage servicing provider, revealed last month that U.S. foreclosures increased 28 percent in January. A watchdog group agreed that a rise is taking place.
Among the states and cities likely to be most affected are the same places hit hardest by the initial housing collapse. According to RealtyTrac, Miami saw foreclosure rates rise 53 percent from January to February of 2011. Tampa saw a 64 percent increase.
The reason behind the forecasted uptick is that barriers limiting foreclosures have been lifted – some by settlement of a case involving banks that improperly signed foreclosure documents without reviewing individual cases.
Many of the foreclosures during the early years of the housing crisis were homes under subprime mortgages. This impending go-round will be more about everyday working Americans who are struggling to make mortgage payments because of the economy, experts say.
Nearly 13 million Americans are jobless. A real estate company estimates that more than 25 percent of American homeowners owed more than their homes were worth at the end of last year. Some nine million or more homes are still at risk of default and, in turn, some project home prices will continue to drop and remain floored until 2016.
One proposed solution, which has not grown wings, is for the government-backed mortgage companies Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to reduce the principal for homeowners who are underwater. But critics say such action will allow homeowners who do not require assistance to abuse the system and have their mortgages reduced as well. As it stands, the crisis is far from over.