Semi-annual foreclosure data indicate foreclosures have risen nationwide, led by three Western states. One Eastern state, with a $100 million grant from Fannie Mae, has come up with a plan to help adjustable-rate borrowers.
In the first six months of the year, a total of 925,986 foreclosure filings were reported on 573,397 properties nationwide, RealtyTrac announced Monday. The total, which represents default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions, was up more than 30 percent from the previous six-month period and 55 percent above the level in first half last year.
The overall upturn for the first six months results even as filings had fallen 7 percent from a 30-month high in May to 164,644 in June, previous RealtyTrac data showed.
The national foreclosure rate for the half year was one foreclosure filing for every 134 U.S. households, according to today's announcement.
Among states, Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate -- with one filing for every 40 households -- and its 25,208 foreclosure filings for the first half were more than double the number in the last half of 2006, RealtyTrac said. Colorado's rate of one foreclosure filing for every 60 properties was the second highest in the nation, closely followed by California's one for every 69 households.
But California reported the highest foreclosure filing total and unique property count out of all states, at 189,560 filings on 104,572 properties. Florida and Texas respectively had the second- and third-highest filing totals, though Texas came in fourth place in unique property count behind Ohio, RealtyTrac said.
RealtyTrac said it incorporated to its data the new "unique property" count, which represents the number of unique property addresses with some type of foreclosure action filed against them, in response to a request by the Federal Reserve Bank for unique property addresses for use within its market and risk analysis. The Irvine, Calif.-based foreclosure listing service will report this data four times a year and noted that the property counts and the total foreclosure filings reveal almost identical trends on the national level, while the consistency is similar at the state level.
New York's first half foreclosure rate of one filing for every 300 properties was the 23rd highest rate in the nation and its 2 percent increase in number of filings from the previous six months was one of the smallest upturns in the nation
But in an effort to improve its condition, New York announced on Friday a $100 million refinance program to help low-, moderate- and middle-income at-risk borrowers avoid foreclosure.
Through partnerships with Fannie Mae, which contributed the $100 million, mortgage lenders and insurance companies, the State of New York Mortgage Agency will provide 30-year or 40-year fixed-rate refinance loans up to 417,000 at competitive interest rates. Financing will be available for up to 100 percent of the property value and proceeds can be used to pay prepayment penalties, closing costs and pay off most second mortgages.
"This innovative program will help address the foreclosure crisis by offering at-risk families mortgages they can afford, so they can keep their homes for years to come," said New York Governor Eliot Spitzer in a written statement.
The "Keep the Dream" program reportedly targets borrowers who have adjustable or interest-only mortgages where the rate has just increased or will increase in the near future. Borrowers must demonstrate that they have experienced or are close to an experience of mortgage payment hardship. Borrowers less than 60 days delinquent on their loans due to a payment increase may also be eligible for the program. Borrowers can have incomes of up to 165 percent of the area median income in New York City, Long Island and the counties of Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, Westchester, Rockland and Putnam, and up to 125 percent for the remainder of the state.
Eligible borrowers will be required to complete a homeowner education course with a federally-approved nonprofit organization and agree to participate in early delinquency intervention counseling should they become delinquent for 30 days or more on the refinance, according to the announcement.
Funds for financial counseling services reportedly include $400,000 in grants from the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal to eight nonprofit agencies in cities of more than 60,000 residents and $250,000 from revenues of the State of New York Mortgage Agency.