[photopress:garden_wall.jpg,thumb,alignright]I always enjoy reading the perspective of Slate economist Daniel Gross… and when he covers real estate issues, it’s all the better.
In Didn’t Pay Your Mortgage? Don’t Worry, David explains how banks are more forgiving than ever…
With the passage of the consumer-unfriendly bankruptcy law and the cram-down rampant, the personal finances of those with limited means are getting more precarious. But even in this Scrooge-y world, there are pockets of sweetness and generosity. At least one group of kind-hearted folks in the finance industry is willing to give customers a break when things don’t go their way: America’s heart-of-gold mortgage lenders, who are behaving with curious benevolence toward suffering clients. Even as housing prices have risen and grown more unaffordable, and as bankruptcy filings have soared, foreclosure rates have fallen. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the foreclosure rate has fallen from 1.49 percent in the third quarter of 2002 to 1 percent in the second quarter of 2005.
He goes on to explain that ” foreclosure—on anyone—is an onerous, time-consuming process. (Read: It costs money.) It also forces banks to get into a business far from their core competency.” In addition, “getting aggressive on foreclosure can damage a lender’s reputation.”
“It used to be that only gigantic banks and corporations like Citigroup and Chrysler were regarded as too big to fail. Today, the humble homeowner enjoys that status as well.”
It is definitely worth noting that if you are having trouble paying your mortgage, talk with your lender. For all the reasons that David notes in this article, it is quite possible that you can work a deal out that will allow you to keep your home until your finances improve!