The Mortgage Banking Association, based in Washington DC (the same people that bought their HQ building for $79 million and sold it three years later for $41 million) announced last week that the foreclosure crisis is “over.”

From a press release posted on their website:

“We are likely seeing the beginning of the end of the unprecedented wave of mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures that started with the subprime defaults in early 2007, continued with the meltdown of the California and Florida housing markets due to overbuilding and the weak loan underwriting that supported that overbuilding, and culminated with a recession that saw 8.5 million people lose their jobs,” said Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s chief economist.

“The continued and sizable drop in the 30-day delinquency rate is a concrete sign that the end may be in sight. We normally see a large spike in short-term mortgage delinquencies at the end of the year due to heating bills, Christmas expenditures and other seasonal factors. Not only did we not see that spike but the 30-day delinquencies actually fell by 16 basis points from 3.79 percent to 3.63 percent. Only three times before in the history of the MBA survey has the non-seasonally adjusted 30-day delinquency rate dropped between the third and fourth quarter and never by this magnitude. If the normal seasonal patterns hold for the first quarter, we should see an even steeper drop in the end of March data.

“This drop is important because 30-day delinquencies have historically been a leading indicator of serious delinquencies and foreclosures. With fewer new loans going bad, the pool of seriously delinquent loans and foreclosures will eventually begin to shrink once the rate at which these problems are resolved exceeds the rate at which new problems come in. It also gives us growing confidence that the size of the problem now is about as bad as it will get.

“The other apparent good sign is a drop in the rate of new foreclosures started. This drop may be temporary, however, because we continue to see large increases in loans 90 days or more past due.

Really? Or is it so much wishful thinking?

If we consider the source, and the astute financial decisions the Association has made, I think the better eye is the jaundiced one.



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