Since the housing market's peak in July 2006, home prices have plunged 30% on average, with prices in some markets, such as Las Vegas, Phoenix and parts of Florida, falling more than 60%. NAR's Yun estimates home-equity losses from the housing meltdown totaled $7 trillion at the end of 2009.
The main reasons that homeowners file for foreclosure include job loss, business failure, divorce or death of spouse, illness, relocation, reduced income, mortgage fraud, and predatory lending. (Short Sales and Foreclosures: What Buyer's Representatives Need to Know, page 10).
For the past three years, payment increase/mortgage adjustment is the top reason homeowners have filed for foreclosure. (SFR training, December 2009).
Foreclosure is not the only option available to distressed homeowners, however. In fact, there may be better options available.
The big question for a homeowner in financial straits is figuring out where to turn. What are their options for easing their distress?
Here are just a few places homeowners can turn for answers:
http://makinghomeaffordable.gov - This website provides invaluable resources for distressed homeowners, including free counseling from a HUD-approved housing counselor, who can assess your situation and help you determine the best steps for you and your family to take to help ease you out of your financial straits.
This website also provides information regarding homeownership events being held around the country by federal, state, and non-profit agencies to provide homeowners with information on foreclosure prevention options. These events also provide homeowners with the opportunity to get immediate help connecting with loan servicer representatives and housing counselors. State-by-state schedules for these events can be found here.
The following video offers more information regarding the services provided by Making Home Affordable:
Avoiding Foreclosure - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - This website provides information on state and local foreclosure resources, discusses tips on avoiding foreclosure, and offers information regarding refinancing options.
For distressed Florida homeowners, the Florida Bar offers resources to help homeowners facing foreclosure, or who fear that they might be. This link also provides information on free help, including local workshops and clinics, to help Florida homeowners looking for a way to get out from under financial distress.
Distressed homeowners have enough problems without worrying about getting taken in by a foreclosure scam.