January 2018   Volume 44, Number 1      


Foreclosure Crisis Lurks in Hurricane Damaged Areas

Around 4.8 million mortgaged properties were in the paths of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. According to financial data firm, Black Knight, these properties represent nearly $746 billion in unpaid principal balances. In September, the number of loans that were over 30 days past due increased 48 percent in areas affected by Hurricane Irma and 67 percent in Harvey-affected areas. The firm has not compiled the numbers for Puerto Rico yet.

Another problem is that mortgage servicers tend not to release insurance payments until the homeowner has lined up a contractor to make the repairs. This is a task that could be daunting at a time when construction companies have months-long waiting lists due to a surge in demand for their services. In addition, homeowners also need money to immediately clean out their homes to avert further damage.

So far the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie and Freddie, has responded to pleas by consumer advocacy groups. Its allowed affected homeowner customers to extend their loan terms and issued guidance for servicers to release more insurance funds upfront.

However, this policy change does not cover the approximately 40 percent of mortgages that are owned by private investors and banks. In Puerto Rico, this figure is even higher. Banco Popular, for example, is one of the biggest banks on the island and is only offering a three-month forbearance.

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In this issue:

Renting Is Overtaking the Housing Market

Weekly Mortgage Applications Rise As Rates Pull Back

US New Home Sales Soar to Highest Level in 10 Years

Senate Version of Tax Bill Saves Mortgage Interest Deduction but Realtors Still Unhappy

Homebuilder Confidence Rises to 8-Month High

Foreclosure Crisis Lurks in Hurricane Damaged Areas

Fannie Mae Launches Program to Help Boost Homebuilding

Facebook Announces New Features for Home Sales

8 Markets Where Housing Inventory Is Actually Increasing

Three Facebook Updates That Affect the Way You Advertise Your Real Estate Business


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