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Foreclosure Numbers Are Nothing Like the 2008 Crash

Foreclosure Numbers Are Nothing Like the 2008 Crash

If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you’ve probably come across some articles saying the number of foreclosures in today’s housing market is going up. And that may leave you feeling a bit worried about what’s ahead, especially if you owned a home during the housing crash in 2008.

The reality is, while increasing, the data shows a foreclosure crisis is not where the market is headed.

Here’s the latest information stacked against the historical data to put your mind at ease.

The Headlines Make the Increase Sound Dramatic – But It’s Not

The increase the media is calling attention to is a little bit misleading. That’s because it’s comparing the most recent numbers to a time when foreclosures were at historic lows. And that lopsided comparison is making it sound like a much bigger deal than it actually is.

Back in 2020 and 2021, there was a moratorium and forbearance program that helped millions of homeowners avoid foreclosure during challenging times. That’s why numbers for just a few years ago were so low.

Now that the moratorium has come to an end, foreclosures are resuming and that means numbers are rising. But it’s an expected increase, not a surprise, and not a cause for alarm. Just because foreclosure filings are up doesn’t mean the housing market is in trouble.

To prove that to you, let’s expand the comparison out a bit more. Specifically, we’ll go all the way back to the housing crash in 2008 – since that’s what people worry may happen again.

The graph below uses research from ATTOM, a property data provider, to show foreclosure activity has been consistently lower since the crash in 2008:

No Caption Received

What the data shows is that things now aren’t anything like they were surrounding the housing crash. The bars in red are when there were over 1 million foreclosure filings a year. In 2023, there were roughly 357,000. That’s a big difference.

A recent article from Bankrate explains one of the reasons things aren’t like they were back then:

In the years after the housing crash, millions of foreclosures flooded the housing market, depressing prices. That’s not the case now. Most homeowners have a comfortable equity cushion in their homes.”

Basically, foreclosure activity is nothing like it was during the crash. That’s because most homeowners today have enough equity to keep them from going into foreclosure. And that’s a really good thing for homeowners and for the market.

The reality is, the data shows a foreclosure crisis is not where the market is today, or where it’s headed.

Bottom Line

Right now, putting the data into context is more important than ever. While the housing market is experiencing an expected rise in foreclosures, it’s nowhere near the crisis levels seen when the housing bubble burst, and that won’t lead to a crash in home prices.

Homeowners Today Have Options To Avoid Foreclosure

Homeowners Today Have Options To Avoid Foreclosure

Even with the latest data coming in, the experts agree there’s no chance of a large-scale foreclosure crisis like the one we saw back in 2008. While headlines may be calling attention to a slight uptick in foreclosure filings recently, the bigger picture is that we’re still well below the number we’d see in a more normal year for the housing market. As a report from BlackKnight explains:

“The prospect of any kind of near-term surge in foreclosure activity remains low, with start volumes still nearly 40% below pre-pandemic levels.”

That’s good news. It means the number of homeowners at risk is very low compared to the norm.

But, there’s a small percentage who may be coming face to face with foreclosure as a possibility. That’s because some homeowners may have an unexpected hardship in their life, which unfortunately can happen in any market.

For those homeowners, there are still options that could help them avoid having to go through the foreclosure process. If you’re facing difficulties yourself, an article from Bankrate breaks down some things to explore:

  • Look into Forbearance Programs: If you have a loan from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you may be able to apply for this type of program.
  • Ask for a loan modification: Your lender may be willing to adjust your loan terms to help bring down your monthly payment to something more achievable.
  • Get a repayment plan in place: A lender may be able to set up a deferral or a payment plan if you’re not in a place where you’re able to make your payment.

 

And there’s something else you may want to consider. That’s whether you have enough equity in your home to sell it and protect your investment.

You May Be Able To Use Your Equity To Sell Your House

In today’s real estate market, many homeowners have far more equity in their homes than they realize due to the rapid home price appreciation we’ve seen over the past few years. That means, if you’ve lived in your house for a while, chances are your home’s value has gone up. Plus, the mortgage payments you’ve made during that time have chipped away at the balance of your loan. That combo may have given your equity a boost. And if your home’s current value is higher than what you still owe on your loan, you may be able to use that increase to your advantage. Freddie Mac explains how this can help:

“If you have enough equity, you can use the proceeds from the sale of your home to pay off your remaining mortgage debt, including any missed mortgage payments or other debts secured by your home.”  

Lean on Experts To Explore Your Options

To find out how much equity you have, partner with a local real estate agent. They can give you an estimate of what your house could sell for based on recent sales of similar homes in your area. You may be able to sell your house to avoid foreclosure.

Bottom Line

If you’re a homeowner facing hardship, lean on a real estate professional to explore your options or see if you can sell your house to avoid foreclosure.

Why There Won’t Be a Recession That Tanks the Housing Market

Why There Won’t Be a Recession That Tanks the Housing Market

There’s been a lot of recession talk over the past couple of years. And that may leave you worried we’re headed for a repeat of what we saw back in 2008. Here’s a look at the latest expert projections to show you why that isn’t going to happen.

According to Jacob Channel, Senior Economist at LendingTree, the economy’s pretty strong:

“At least right now, the fundamentals of the economy, despite some hiccups, are doing pretty good. While things are far from perfect, the economy is probably doing better than people want to give it credit for.”

That might be why a recent survey from the Wall Street Journal shows only 39% of economists think there’ll be a recession in the next year. That’s way down from 61% projecting a recession just one year ago (see graph below):

a graph of the economic growth of the economy

Most experts believe there won’t be a recession in the next 12 months. One reason why is the current unemployment rate. Let’s compare where we are now with historical data from Macrotrends, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and Trading Economics. When we do, it’s clear the unemployment rate today is still very low (see graph below):

a graph of a graph showing the number of employment rate

The orange bar shows the average unemployment rate since 1948 is about 5.7%. The red bar shows that right after the financial crisis in 2008, when the housing market crashed, the unemployment rate was up to 8.3%. Both of those numbers are much larger than the unemployment rate this January (shown in blue).

But will the unemployment rate go up? To answer that, look at the graph below. It uses data from that same Wall Street Journal survey to show what the experts are projecting for unemployment over the next three years compared to the long-term average (see graph below):

a graph of blue bars

As you can see, economists don’t expect the unemployment rate to even come close to the long-term average over the next three years – much less the 8.3% we saw when the market last crashed.

Still, if these projections are correct, there will be people who lose their jobs next year. Anytime someone’s out of work, that’s a tough situation, not just for the individual, but also for their friends and loved ones. But the big question is: will enough people lose their jobs to create a flood of foreclosures that could crash the housing market?

Looking ahead, projections show the unemployment rate will likely stay below the 75-year average. That means you shouldn’t expect a wave of foreclosures that would impact the housing market in a big way.

Bottom Line

Most experts now think we won’t have a recession in the next year. They also don’t expect a big jump in the unemployment rate. That means you don’t need to fear a flood of foreclosures that would cause the housing market to crash.

Foreclosures and Bankruptcies Won’t Crash the Housing Market

Foreclosures and Bankruptcies Won’t Crash the Housing Market

If you’ve been following the news recently, you might have seen articles about an increase in foreclosures and bankruptcies. That could be making you feel uneasy, especially if you’re thinking about buying or selling a house.

But the truth is, even though the numbers are going up, the data shows the housing market isn’t headed for a crisis.

Foreclosure Activity Rising, but Less Than Headlines Suggest

In recent years, the number of foreclosures has been very low. That’s because, in 2020 and 2021, the forbearance program and other relief options were put in place to help many homeowners stay in their homes during that tough time.

When the moratorium ended, there was an expected rise in foreclosures. But just because they’re up, that doesn’t mean the housing market is in trouble.

To help you see how much things have changed since the housing crash in 2008, check out the graph below using research from ATTOM, a property data provider. It looks at properties with a foreclosure filing going all the way back to 2005 to show that there have been fewer foreclosures since the crash.

As you can see, foreclosure filings are inching back up to pre-pandemic numbers, but they’re still way lower than when the housing market crashed in 2008. And today, the tremendous amount of equity American homeowners have in their homes can help people sell and avoid foreclosure.

The Increase in Bankruptcies Isn’t Dramatic Either

As you can see below, the financial trouble many industries and small businesses felt during the pandemic didn’t cause a dramatic increase in bankruptcies. Still, the number of bankruptcies has gone up slightly since last year, nearly returning to 2021 levels. But that isn’t cause for alarm.

The numbers for 2021 and 2022 were lower than more typical years. That’s in part because the government provided trillions of dollars in aid to individuals and businesses during the pandemic. So, let’s instead focus on the bar for this year and compare it to the bar on the far left (2019). It shows the number of bankruptcies today is still nowhere near where it was before the pandemic. Both of these two factors are reasons why the housing market isn’t in danger of crashing.

Bottom Line

Right now, it’s crucial to understand the data. Foreclosures and bankruptcies are rising, but these leading indicators aren’t signaling trouble that would cause another crash.

Why Today’s Housing Inventory Shows a Crash Isn’t on the Horizon

Why Today’s Housing Inventory Shows a Crash Isn’t on the Horizon

You might remember the housing crash in 2008, even if you didn’t own a home at the time. If you’re worried there’s going to be a repeat of what happened back then, there’s good news – the housing market now is different from 2008.

One important reason is there aren’t enough homes for sale. That means there’s an undersupply, not an oversupply like the last time. For the market to crash, there would have to be too many houses for sale, but the data doesn’t show that happening.

Housing supply comes from three main sources:

  • Homeowners deciding to sell their houses
  • Newly built homes
  • Distressed properties (foreclosures or short sales)

Here’s a closer look at today’s housing inventory to understand why this isn’t like 2008.

Homeowners Deciding To Sell Their Houses

Although housing supply did grow compared to last year, it’s still low. The current months’ supply is below the norm. The graph below shows this more clearly. If you look at the latest data (shown in green), compared to 2008 (shown in red), there’s only about a third of that available inventory today.

So, what does this mean? There just aren’t enough homes available to make home values drop. To have a repeat of 2008, there’d need to be a lot more people selling their houses with very few buyers, and that’s not happening right now.

Newly Built Homes

People are also talking a lot about what’s going on with newly built houses these days, and that might make you wonder if homebuilders are overdoing it. The graph below shows the number of new houses built over the last 52 years:

The 14 years of underbuilding (shown in red) is a big part of the reason why inventory is so low today. Basically, builders haven’t been building enough homes for years now and that’s created a significant deficit in supply.

While the final blue bar on the graph shows that’s ramping up and is on pace to hit the long-term average again, it won’t suddenly create an oversupply. That’s because there’s too much of a gap to make up. Plus, builders are being intentional about not overbuilding homes like they did during the bubble.

Distressed Properties (Foreclosures and Short Sales)

The last place inventory can come from is distressed properties, including short sales and foreclosures. Back during the housing crisis, there was a flood of foreclosures due to lending standards that allowed many people to get a home loan they couldn’t truly afford.

Today, lending standards are much tighter, resulting in more qualified buyers and far fewer foreclosures. The graph below uses data from the Federal Reserve to show how things have changed since the housing crash:

This graph illustrates, as lending standards got tighter and buyers were more qualified, the number of foreclosures started to go down. And in 2020 and 2021, the combination of a moratorium on foreclosures and the forbearance program helped prevent a repeat of the wave of foreclosures we saw back around 2008.

The forbearance program was a game changer, giving homeowners options for things like loan deferrals and modifications they didn’t have before. And data on the success of that program shows four out of every five homeowners coming out of forbearance are either paid in full or have worked out a repayment plan to avoid foreclosure. These are a few of the biggest reasons there won’t be a wave of foreclosures coming to the market.

What This Means for You

Inventory levels aren’t anywhere near where they’d need to be for prices to drop significantly and the housing market to crash. According to Bankrate, that isn’t going to change anytime soon, especially considering buyer demand is still strong:

“This ongoing lack of inventory explains why many buyers still have little choice but to bid up prices. And it also indicates that the supply-and-demand equation simply won’t allow a price crash in the near future.”

Bottom Line

The market doesn’t have enough available homes for a repeat of the 2008 housing crisis – and there’s nothing that suggests that will change anytime soon. That’s why housing inventory tells us there’s no crash on the horizon.

Don’t Expect a Wave of Foreclosures [INFOGRAPHIC]

Don’t Expect a Wave of Foreclosures [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • With ongoing high inflation pushing up everyday costs, some people are worried that’ll create a flood of foreclosures. Here’s why that’s unlikely.
  • Fewer people are seriously behind on mortgage payments right now. If foreclosures were going to rise a lot, more people would need to be late on their payments.
  • Since most are paying on time, a wave isn’t coming. If you’re concerned about a flood of foreclosures, the data shows that’s not likely.