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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Foreclosures down 500K from last year

Non-current loans down by almost 1 million

March 24, 2014
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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news crossing HousingWire's weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.

Black Knight Financial Services' "First Look" at February 2014 data

Black Knight, formerly Lender Processing Services, report on mortgage performance in February include the following highlights:

  1. The number of loans in foreclosure has dropped by more than 500K since last year (1.24M as of Feb.)
  2. There are now nearly 1 million fewer non-current mortgages since last February (4.1M as of Feb).
  3. The roughly 92K foreclosure starts in February marked a 30% year-over-year decline.

The monthly prepayment rate (historically a good indicator of refinance activity) declined almost 64% year-over-year. Mississippi, Nevada & Rhode Island have highest rates of seriously delinquent (90+ days) loans. Non-current rates in Vermont & Massachusetts have increased the most over the past 6 mos. (up 1.9% and 1.3%, respectively)

Black Knight will provide a more in-depth review of this data in its monthly Mortgage Monitor report.

Subprime is making a comeback. According to CNN Money, the infamous, risky mortgages are growing in popularity.

But this time, things are different:

"During the housing bubble, lenders were handing out subprime loans with cheap teaser rates and little or no down payments. Now, lenders are charging interest rates of as high as 8% to 10% and requiring borrowers to make down payments of as much as 25%-35%."

But wait a sec, how much market share is subprime getting? According to the Wall Street Journal, not a whole lot, and things aren't that much better at the high end of the credit spectrum:

"Borrowers with FICO scores below 620 accounted for 0.35% or mortgages in January, down from about 13% in February 2003 and a peak of 17% during the frothiest peaks of the housing bubble. The best borrowers, with scores above 780, have taken their place, swelling from about 13% or originations in 2003 to a little less than 30% today."

Could 2014 be the year the housing market really recovers? Or so asks the Christian Science monitor:

"The to-and-fro forces make this a tough market to forecast, but many economists see 2014 as a year of progress though at a slower pace, with modest gains in home prices for the nation on average. Already, an uptick in mortgage interest rates prompted a slowdown in the pace of price gains in many cities late last year, from New York and Washington to Phoenix and cities on the Pacific coast."

In like a lion... The brutal cold and record snow of this winter, which has been blamed for everything from bad unemployment numbers to lackluster home sales in January and February, continues unabated for the East coast.

A blizzard is forecast for the Northeast Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, with parts of New York and New Jersey looking at up to six inches of snow.

Southern states will feel the cold too, with record freezing temperatures forecast for parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

The weather is supposed to let up by this weekend; until then house hunters will have to confine themselves to looking online. 

Dolan Co. filed for bankruptcy. Dolan a provider of legal-support services and publishing, agreed to be taken over by lenders to cut debt linked to its former mortgage foreclosure-processing business.

The Minneapolis-based company listed debt of $185.9 million and assets of $236.2 million as of Sept. 30 in a Chapter 11 petition filed today in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. did not close any banks this weekend.

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