Economic issues, such as unemployment or reduced income, are expected to be the main catalysts for foreclosures this year. Homeowners with good credit who took out conventional, fixed-rate loans are the fastest growing group of foreclosures.
A record 2.8 million American households were threatened with foreclosure in 2009.
High foreclosures forced the federal government and several states to come up with plans to prevent or delay foreclosures to help troubled borrowers. One plan that was intended to help homeowners is the Obama loan modification program known as Making Home Affordable. Lenders participating in the program have offered trial loan modifications to 760,000 eligible borrowers since it was launched in March.
There is no guarantee that borrowers will be eligible for a permanent solution at the end of the trial period. A loan modification changes the terms of your original loan agreement, such as lowering the interest rate or extending the term of your mortgage to make the monthly payments more affordable.
The Mortgage Bankers Association on Wednesday recommended changes to the government's program to include assistance for borrowers that have lost their jobs. The program, for example, should include a suspension of payments or Forebearance Plan as the first step for borrowers with a temporary loss of income.
The same three states that led the nation in foreclosure rate in December also posted the highest rates for the entire year: Nevada, Arizona and Florida. More than 10 percent of Nevada housing units received at least one foreclosure filing in 2009, with Florida and Arizona following with about 6 percent each.
The other states ranked in the top 10 were California, Utah, Idaho, Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, and Colorado.
The foreclosure crisis isn't letting up. Between 3 and 3.5 million homes are expected to enter some phase of foreclosure this year, said Rick Sharga, senior vice president of Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac, which began tracking the data five years ago.
We are in for a very bumpy ride.
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