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Tag Archives: Mortgage Debt

Study: More Households Pay Bills on Time and Live Within Their Means

Lenders continue to battle the headwinds of high unemployment, a stalled economic recovery, and a backlog of bad loans from the heyday of the housing boom - all playing into a marketplace stressed with high levels of delinquencies and complex resolutions. But the underpinnings of a new age of creditworthy, financially savvy borrowers are beginning to take shape. The counseling agency CredAbility says its Consumer Distress Index has improved for three consecutive quarters.

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The Financial Mindset of Underwater Borrowers: Survey

The term 'underwater' has become common industry jargon in today's marketplace of depressed home values and high loan balances, and it's increasingly making its way into the everyday vocabulary of consumers. Twenty-six percent of mortgage borrowers now say they are underwater, according to a new survey conducted by Fannie Mae. The GSE also found that the idea of being in negative equity is more prevalent among minorities, and that underwater borrowers are more likely to know someone who has defaulted on their mortgage.

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Fed Reports Slight Decline in Mortgage and Other Debt

The Federal Reserve found a small increase in consumers' willingness to borrow and banks' willingness to lend, but a decline in loan balances, according to the second-quarter household debt report issued Monday by the central bank's New York arm. Mortgage debt and home equity lines of credit each decreased by about $20 billion during the second quarter of 2011. This represents a 0.2 percent drop for mortgage balances and a 3 percent drop for home equity loans.

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Mortgage Delinquencies Have Risen 25% Since Pre-Recession

Mortgage delinquencies remain elevated while other aspects of the consumer credit picture, such as bankcard performance, are improving, according to a new report from Experian. The credit bureau says instances of 60-day mortgage delinquencies have risen by 25 percent from 2007, prior to the recession, while 60-day credit card delinquencies have decreased 20 percent since that time. Portland shows the greatest increase in missed mortgage payments, almost double since 2007.

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The Math Behind the Mortgage Interest Deduction

What many consider to be a staple of American homeownership is expected to be on the chopping block as lawmakers look to trim the nation's deficit. The prized mortgage interest tax deduction has been part of the federal tax code since 1913. Currently, it costs the U.S. Treasury an estimated $94 billion a year. Congress has tossed around several proposals for amending this part of the federal tax code, including lowering the debt limit to $500,000 on first mortgages. Such a move is estimated to return between $5 billion and $15 billion.

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Bill Aimed at Helping Underwater Homeowners Gains Support

The Helping Responsible Homeowners Act, which aims to help underwater homeowners refinance their loans at historically low interest rates, is gaining support. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California says her bill, which was introduced in January, is now being co-sponsored by Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who previously ran one of the largest independent real estate brokerages in the country. The Helping Responsible Homeowners Act would eliminate barriers blocking millions of non-delinquent homeowners from refinancing.

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Underwater Ratio Improves but Seconds Sinking

The number of mortgage borrowers who owe more on the loan than their home is worth decreased slightly during the first quarter, but CoreLogic sees a problem area among homeowners with second mortgages. The company found that 10.9 million, or 22.7 percent, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity as of the end of March. CoreLogic says the underwater ratio of borrowers with home equity loans is more than double that of borrowers without second mortgages.

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First-Quarter Data Show Consumer Distress Beginning to Ease

The nonprofit counseling agency CredAbility released the results of its first-quarter Consumer Distress Index Thursday. While the average U.S. household is still in financial distress - and has been for 10 consecutive quarters - the agency says the index has hit its highest score in two and a half years. CredAbility attributed the positive movement to the fact that employment levels rose and consumers now have a better handle on managing household budgets. On the flip side, the score dropped in the housing category.

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Mortgage Delinquencies Improve for Fifth Straight Quarter: TransUnion

The share of mortgage borrowers in the United States 60 or more days behind on their payments dropped to 6.19 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2011, according to data released Monday by the credit bureau TransUnion. That's down from 6.41 percent at the close of 2010 and marks the fifth consecutive quarter that TransUnion has reported an improvement in the national delinquency rate. The firm says as home prices have declined further, delinquencies were expected to remain flat or at least slow in their decline, but that hasn't been the case.

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Survey: More Underwater Homeowners Open to Strategic Default

Nearly twice as many underwater borrowers think it is okay to walk away from their mortgage than harbored this sentiment a year ago, according to the results of a survey conducted by Fannie Mae. A separate academia study, however, found that the number of cases in which the homeowner defaulted even though they cold afford their payments - at least as perceived by their neighbors - appears to be trending down. The researchers also asked about respondents' feelings on robo-signing penalties.

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