U.S. Foreclosures Near the 1 Million Mark in 2008
A website foreclosure-tracking service reports that the country reached almost 1 million foreclosures in 2008. The figures show a big increase to 63.5 percent.
There were also 2.1 million foreclosure-related filings the previous year. The statistics include default notices and auctions, and reflect a staggering 62 percent jump from 2007. Nevada, with 49.9 filings for every 1,000 households, topped the list.
The housing crisis has plunged home values down to record-low prices as the selling of homes becomes harder. Some landlords have also dropped rental prices to attract more tenants. Aside from this, construction of new property has slowed and because of the tight credit market, there has been marked difficulty to secure financing for home purchases.
However, President of a foreclosure-listing service Alexis McGee she sees all these as positive indicators which would give a chance for the housing industry to rise. According to McGee, the decline in house prices spells more housing affordability to the growing American population. She also cites that the housing shortage due to the drop in new home construction would contribute to housing affordability. She says that recovery in the housing market has already started in some hard-hit areas such as California.
In the fourth quarter, completed foreclosures have dropped 9.2 percent from the previous quarter to 266,986. Filings also decreased 2.4 percent. Experts attribute the improvement to private and public efforts, including loan adjustments and eviction moratoriums.
In the past months, some lawmakers and analysts have attributed the continuing housing problems to non-aggressive programs initiated by the Treasury Department under the Bush administration. Last year, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s strategy of injecting capital into banks to keep them afloat was heavily questioned by House Democrats. It remains to be seen whether Obama’s foreclosure prevention program which has yet to be approved by Congress will finally be able to stem housing problems.
By Cassiano Travareli