The Big Home Ownership Problem – What’s Next?3 min read

The real estate world has known for a good while, yet some have been refusing to read what it says. Many Americans are getting deeper into debt. Part of this problem likely comes from the cost of owning a house. For a increasing number of homeowners, housing debt is forcing a tough situation into a dangerous one; creating a ?foreclosure crisis? that will likely last many years more.

Several months ago, current numbers released by the Government are showing an alarming growth in the rate of foreclosures. In some areas, of all home owners who were extended sub-prime loans, the rate of default is as high as 14-20% when 4-6% is considered ?healthy?.

This data has been all over the news ? the sub-prime market has been in upheaval. Sub-prime loan officers are usually experienced in extending financing to borrowers with credit problems, unable to verify income, employment or other factors that make them a poor fit for traditional financing. In the past few months, many major players in the sub-prime market have sought additional investors or in some cases simply closed their doors and gone out of business. Just as their clients were unable to afford the escalating costs of living, many sub-prime lenders found it impossible to absorb the rate of default we are now seeing.

The major issue doesn?t stop with the sub-prime market. Even traditional lenders are increasing requirements and placing more scrutiny on the loan approval process. This begs the questions of how did this problem with foreclosures ever begin in the first place?

A fair amount of the responsibility can be laid at the feet of the homeowners themselves. In this age of “big is best” many Americans see a big home as an indicator of success. This pushes many buyers into trying to own a bigger, more expensive home without enough thought to being able to afford one. Often buyers push the levels of affordability and end up in a difficult situation or worse.

Blame can also be attributed to some financial institutions. Who is better informed as to how much house debt a borrower can afford? The current debt-to-income ratios are either broken, or the types of loans that lenders are offering are poor choices. Loans like 28/2 and 27/3 loans with fixed teaser rates that adjust after 2 or 3 years with a balloon or margin are just a few of the loans that have presented problems for borrowers.

Of course the ultimate result will be better qualified and better educated homeowners but did things really have to go so far? We’ve seen foreclosre problems hit most of the large regions we work including St. Charles real estate, Batavia real estate, Geneva real estate and Yorkville real estate. Frankly, I sometimes think they did. Lately it seems like it takes a good deal of shock to get some things back on track. In the mean time, if you are thinking of purchasing real estate in the next few years, it?s important that you start speaking with your local REALTOR or financial professional and make sure your finances and credit scores are in order before you go forward with applying for a loan.

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