While the percentage of homes in the United States with negative equity has declined substantially since the fourth quarter of 2013, they experienced a slight increase quarter-over-quarter in Q4 2014, according to CoreLogic‘s Q4 2014 Equity Report released last Tuesday.
CoreLogic reported that 10.8 percent of all residential homes were underwater in Q4, this is about 5.4 million properties approximately, which was down from 13.3 percent in the same quarter a year earlier. The Q4 total was up slightly from the 10.3 percent that was reported for Q3 2014 – an increase of 3.3 percent.
Despite the year-over-year decline in the percentage of underwater residential properties, negative equity remains a serious issue, according to Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. For the full year of 2014, 1.2 million borrowers regained equity – but nearly five and a half million properties remained in negative equity as of the end of the year after approximately 172,000 homes slipped into negative equity from the third quarter to the fourth quarter in 2014.
Approximately 10 million of the nearly 50 million residential properties with a mortgage in the United States, which is about 20 percent of these properties have less than 20 percent equity, a condition known as under-equitied.
The Senate approved the long time waiting extension of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act , bringing home owners who did a short sale this year one step closer to tax relief. The bill, which passed the House of Representatives two weeks ago, is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama. The Senate approved the bill in a 76-16 vote.
The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 was created to help distressed homeowners; that were faced with taxes after a Principal reduction; however this law expired Dec. 31, 2013 making distressed home owners responsible for paying taxes on “phantom income” from the forgiven debt. The tax on a 2014 short sale or workout would have been due this coming April 15 had Congress not extended the measure.
The extension will only apply to short sales conducted in 2014. Any further extensions will have to be considered by the new Congress, which begins its 2015 session in January.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) indicated in its report on foreclosure prevention for Q2 2014 released on September 24, that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac prevented nearly 80,000 foreclosures nationwide in the second quarter, raising the total number of foreclosures prevented since the start of the conservatorship in September 2008 to 3.3 million.
The measures taken by the two GSEs to prevent foreclosures have helped about 2.7 million borrowers remain in their homes in the last six years, with approximately 1.7 million of those borrowers receiving permanent loan modifications. The number of foreclosures prevented is down 10 percent from Q1, when GSE measures stopped almost 89,000 foreclosures.
FHFA reports as well that about 37 percent of those who received permanent loan modifications were able to reduce their monthly payments by more than 30 percent in second quarter.
La Agencia Federal de la Financiamiento de la Vivienda (FHFA) indicó en su informe del 24 de Septiembre que Fannie Mae y Freddie Mac impidieron que alrededor de 80.000 casas se fueran en una ejecución hipotecaria en todo el país durante el segundo trimestre del 2014, elevando la prevención del número total de ejecuciones hipotecarias desde Septiembre de 2008 a 3.3 millones.
Las medidas adoptadas por las dos GSE para evitar las ejecuciones hipotecarias han ayudado a unos 2,7 millones de prestatarios a permanecer en sus hogares en los últimos seis años. 1,7 millones de prestatarios recibieron modificaciones permanentes de préstamo.
El número de ejecuciones hipotecarias prevenidas en el primer trimestre fue del 10 por ciento, cuando las GSE detuvieron 89.000 ejecuciones hipotecarias.
FHFA informa también que alrededor del 37 por ciento de propietarios que recibieron modificaciones permanentes de préstamo redujeron sus pagos mensuales hasta un 30 por ciento en el segundo trimestre.
In an effort to sign more eligible homeowners up for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is holding its third HARP outreach event in October, 2014.
The goal is to get the word out about HARP to borrowers who are current but underwater, and help borrowers who are either delinquent or at risk of losing their home recognize that they too have options.
Borrowers are eligible for a HARP loan if they meet the following requirements:
Their loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac;
The loan must have been originated on or before May 21, 2009;
LTV ratio must be greater than 80 percent;
Borrower must be current on mortgage payments.
Borrowers who could benefit from HARP are referred to as “in the money” borrowers; they are “in the money” if they meet all the HARP eligibility requirements, have a remaining balance on their loan of greater than $50,000 with more than 10 years left on their term, and have an interest rate of more than 1.5 percent more than current market rates.
As of June 2014, about 3.1 million homeowners have refinanced through HARP since it was introduced by FHFA and Treasury in 2009 as part of the Making Home Affordable Program.
Paying a mortgage is cheaper than paying rent. But owning a home costs more. The never ending debate…Is better to buy or rent? This could be answered only after considering all of the expenses that contribute to homeownership.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says it’s cheaper to own. It has become less expensive to own. From 2009 to 2012, fueled by falling interest rates, homeownership has become more affordable, while renters saw costs go in the opposite direction, according to the BLS.
A recent report by Zillow found that current U.S. home buyers can expect to pay 15.3% of their incomes to a mortgage on the typical home – down considerably from the 22.1% of income homeowners had to budget in the pre-bubble years but renters pay today over 29.5% of their income to rent, compared to 24.9% in the pre-bubble period.
The main reason for the budget disparity is the income gap between owners and renters. At the end of the second quarter, the Census Bureau reported the median annual income in the U.S. was $53,216. But among homeowners, median salaries were $65,514 per year, while the typical renter’s income was just $31,888.
A recent report revising the waiting periods for distressed borrowers with a derogatory credit event such as a foreclosure, bankruptcy, short sale, or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure on their credit history to obtain a new loan has been released by Fannie Mae. This revised statement reduces the waiting period up to two years for borrowers with a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure on their record if there are extenuating circumstances that borrowers can prove.
According to Fannie Mae, extenuating circumstances are defined as “nonrecurring events that are beyond the borrower’s control that result in a sudden, significant, and prolonged reduction in income or a catastrophic increase in financial obligations.”
If a borrower has a foreclosure on his or her credit record, the new minimum waiting period is seven years. Under extenuating circumstances, that period is shortened to three years with some additional requirements for up to seven years. For those with a bankruptcy the waiting period is four years but two years with extenuating circumstances from the discharge date.
Fannie Mae said in the report that it is “focused on helping lenders to provide access to mortgages for creditworthy borrowers while supporting sustainable homeownership” and that the new policy “provides opportunities for borrowers to obtain a loan to Fannie Mae’s maximum LTV (loan-to-value) sooner after the Pre-foreclosure, Short Sale or DIL.”