Home foreclosures are still high, but they've dropped since December, new real estate numbers show. The Orange County Register reported Feb. 22 that foreclosures fell sharply at the end of 2008, although there were still more foreclosures in December of 2008 than there were in December of 2007. Other Southern California areas reported similar drops in foreclosures, with San Diego County reporting a 12% drop between December and January, and Riverside County dropping by 5%.
In all of these drops, experts suggested that federal and state legislation played an important role. The Register quoted an economist who attributed the drop to a state law, which took effect Sept. 8, that required lenders to talk with certain borrowers at least 30 days before sending them a notice of default. The San Diego Union-Tribune attributed it to the glut of foreclosed properties already on the market, which drives down the value of a repossessed home further, in anticipation of help from President Obama's housing plan. And City News Service, through KTTV, quoted a RealtyTrac executive who suggested that a foreclosure sales moratorium by the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be responsible.
Regardless of the cause, this is good news for Southern California homeowners at risk of losing their homes. As we have written here before, banks don't want to foreclose because it's expensive and it puts them in the position of homeowners, which they're not set up for. However, until recently, that wasn't enough to slow the rate of foreclosures, or make banks more willing to negotiate with homeowners seeking a mortgage loan modification. The change might be attributed to the natural workings of the market -- the added incentive to avoid foreclosure when the market is already glutted -- or laws that outright force lenders to stop foreclosing. In either case, it can only give homeowners and their Santa Ana mortgage loan modification lawyers more time to find a permanent solution.
However, a slow in foreclosures is no guarantee that banks are more willing to address the problems that cause foreclosures -- including mortgage loans whose terms have become unrealistic for the borrowers. In many cases, borrowers who believe they can make payments if they can also the terms of their loans are met with deaf ears from lenders. This reluctance to negotiate is partly about money -- despite the housing crisis, some lenders still haven't changed their approach -- and partly about the difficulties of changing a loan that has already been "securitized" and sold to investors who have a stake in its value. For homeowners in this situation, getting help from a Garden Grove mortgage loan modification attorney may be the best course of action.
At Howard Law LLP, our Anaheim mortgage loan modification lawyers help clients hold on to their homes by negotiating for better interest rates, a longer repayment term or even a reduction of principal. When it's appropriate, we can also point out instances of predatory lending that may make a previously uninterested lender more cooperative. We have helped many homeowners with "subprime" or non-traditional mortgages convert to a more livable, more traditional loan. If you know you need this kind of help, we invite you to take advantage of our free, confidential consultations to learn more about your options and your rights. To set one up today, contact Howard Law online or call us at 1-800-872-5925.