In the first quarter of this year, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported that they prevented nearly 39,000 foreclosures. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), these two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) have stopped over 4 million foreclosures since the height of the recession in Sept. 2008. In the majority of cases (over 3,600,000), homeowners were able to remain in their homes.
Over half of those foreclosure prevention actions involved permanently modifying the terms of the homeowners’ mortgage loans. In Q1 2019, over one-third (38%) of the modifications reduced monthly mortgage payments by over 20%.
Nationwide, foreclosures and delinquencies are at record lows. According to data and analytics provider Black Knight, the U.S. delinquency rate in May of 3.6% is the lowest in nearly two decades.
However, for some southern states, including Mississippi, that rate is going in the opposite direction. Mississippi has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest rate of mortgages that are at least 90 days delinquent (9.86%) of any state in the country. Second and third are Louisiana at 7.34% and Alabama at 6.37%.
As noted, not everyone whose foreclosure is prevented is able to remain in their home. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sometimes use alternatives to foreclosure such as deeds in lieu and short sales. As the FHFA notes, “These foreclosure alternatives help to reduce the severity of losses resulting from a borrower’s default and minimize the impact of foreclosures on borrowers, communities, and neighborhoods.”
The GSEs completed over 1,500 of those in Q1 2019. Like foreclosures, the number of these alternative actions is down nationwide — even from the previous quarter.
These statistics are useful to economists and others who study housing trends. However, ultimately, you’re concerned with what happens to your home. If you’re facing the possibility of foreclosure, it’s wise to seek experienced legal guidance as soon as possible to determine what your options are.
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