America’s foreclosure crisis has been over for more than a year, if it ever really existed. But the government/activist/media blob is still trying to convince the public that there is an epidemic of bad borrowers who need public relief.
At Harvard Law School, a student group called Project No One Leaves recently concluded its fourth annual conference aimed at creating what one attendee called “a multi-faceted, national housing justice alliance.”
Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett recently gave
$200,000 to a community organization called ACTS Housing to fight the foreclosure crisis by buying up bank-owned properties — even as the number of new foreclosure starts in the Badger State continues dropping
by double-digit percentages.
Politicians in Irvington and Newark, N.J., are, with strikingly little legal justification, claiming eminent-domain powers to seize foreclosed properties — a scheme the Star-Ledger politely terms a “new strategy to dig out from the foreclosure crisis.”
According to Treasury Department official Christy Romero, the Obama administration’s $30 billion Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) — which has already spent more than $11 billion of taxpayer money on “principal reduction” refinances — needs to be extended to prevent any hiccups in the inflation of house prices.
“Will Treasury help [bad borrowers] get back on their feet in the same way it helped the banks get back on their feet?” Romero, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, asked the Washington Post in March.
The Post also seized on another constant feature of the HAMP – that it has always been a magnet for swindles, fraud, redefaults on modified loans, and other forms of deadbeating — to argue that the “foreclosure crisis is still burning years after the housing crisis ended.”
In fact, the rates of foreclosure sales and new foreclosure-processing starts are the lowest they have been since 2007, according to HOPE NOW. CoreLogic’s most recent equity report shows that 6.5 million homes — 13.3 percent of all homes — had negative equity (i.e., the borrower owes more than the house is worth) in the fourth quarter of 2013. That compares with 11.1 million underwater homes — or 23.1 percent of all U.S. houses — in the fourth quarter of 2010.
This recovery is also evident in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s Mortgage Metrics Report, which has shown a steady decline in new defaults. Interestingly, the fourth-quarter Mortgage Metrics Report showed a substantial uptick in redefaults — in which deadbeats go deadbeat again after negotiating new loans — but that’s after several years of sharp decline in the repeat-delinquency rate.
“Overall delinquencies are way down,” says Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Los Angeles–based Beacon Economics. “Mortgage conversions — which are current mortgages going delinquent — are way down. . . . We’re seeing a housing market that’s bouncing forward.”