According to an article in the Star-Telegram, the number of homeowners who were late making their mortgage payments shot up by 53 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 from the same period in 2007. The percentage of homeowners facing foreclosure was 4.58 at the end of 2008 compared to 2.99 percent in 2007 and analysts predict 2009’s mortgage delinquencies will rise significantly indicating that an even larger number of American homeowners are at risk for foreclosure.
Homeowners are in a particularly precarious situation because many are facing job losses, shrinking credit access and homes that are losing value fast. Many homeowners facing foreclosure find themselves unable to even short sell their homes because the properties are worth significantly less than their current mortgage. This situation leaves little motivation for some people to continue to pay their mortgage unless they are granted a significant mortgage modification that will help them avoid foreclosure and make their mortgage more affordable in the long-term. The other side of the equation is that many mortgage servicers are failing to negotiate with homeowners before they have become delinquent and facing imminent foreclosure.