The foreclosure crisis we’re experiencing now (up 57% in some areas from 2007 levels) is affecting everyone – not just the homeowners who’s lives and credit are turned upside down by this unfortunate experience. If everyone knew how much this situation is affecting everyone, there might be more impetous to solve things. Here’s a quick breakdown of how the current situation is affecting YOU:
As homes go under foreclosure and banks take possession of the homes, they are eventually listed on the market at 20-30% under market value. Because of the limited number of buyers right now, this might mean that out of 20 homes in a subdivision currently on the market 3-4 might be foreclosures priced at 20-30% under the others. These mostly aren’t homes that are “torn up” in the traditional foreclosure sense – these are often homes in good condition. For a buyer that sees two homes that are very similar but one is priced 20-30% lower, the choice is obvious. What this means for homeowners trying to sell homes is that they’re forced to compete with the foreclosures and drop prices or not sell. This drops market values in an area as sellers have to constantly compete with a continuous stream of foreclosures.
For buyers, purchasing a foreclosure at 20-30% under market value sounds like a sure thing. However, many buyers that haven’t contacted a loan officer in a while might be suprised to find that they can no longer qualify for a loan. Due to tightening restrictions on income ratios, credit scores and downpayment requirements, many buyers who want to buy and may be capable of affording a home will not be able to get a loan. Also, for the buyers that can get a loan, banks are borrowing money from the federal government at a greatly reduced rate (everyone’s been hearing about the dropping fed funds rate) and then turning around and lending that money to buyes at higher rates (rates have stayed the same or slightly risen while the fed funds rates has dropped) in order to generate more income on the loans being writted and to offset the losses taken by the increased number of foreclosures. The buyers pay for this crisis with tightened restrictions on loans and higher interest rates.
Not only do they have to endure a severe lifestyle change, but credit scores will be greatly damaged by a judgement of foreclosure. This means that they will be unable to buy for the foreseeable future (especially with increasingly-tightening lending restrictions). All of the foreclosures and buyers unwilling to commit to a purchase have driven up rental prices and made rentals hard to find. This compounds the problem by forcing families that have been foreclosed upon to pay more for a place to live.
This foreclosure “crisis” we’re currently experiencing has a ripple effect that touches everyone – no matter who you are. If you don’t feel it now, you soon will as your home value drops or rent goes up. It’s time for everyone to take responsibility for this mess and make the right moves to get these homeowners some help or otherwise reduce the rate of foreclosure for everyone’s sake.