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Interest rate cuts, borrower-friendly legislation, President Bush and even Alan Greenspan stumping for homeowner debt relief. Could all of this actually be slowing the foreclosure tide?
The latest numbers from Web site RealyTrac show that foreclosure filings fell 10% between October and November, the first major decline in more than a year. The filings—which include everything from people receiving notices they’re late on their payments to actual seizures of homes by banks—were still up an eye-popping 68% from November of last year. And the big number, 201,000 filings, still means that one out of every 617 households in the country is in some form of distress.
But moves such as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger getting four big lenders in California to freeze rates for subprime borrowers with adjustable mortgages could actually be working. Despite the state’s size and sky-high home prices, California’s foreclosure activity fell 21% month-over-month. That was a much better peformance than the rest of the nation. Go Arnold, Go
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.