To hope or not to hope
Is HOPE NOW helping much? Depends on whom you ask.
HOPE NOW, the alliance of mortgage industry players focusing on foreclosure prevention, says it's helping quite a bit, thanks. In a press release yesterday, it estimated that "more than 1.7 million homeowners have avoided foreclosure because of industry efforts" in the last 12 months. That includes 170,000 in May alone.
But the Center for Responsible Lending fired back with a press release of its own that says the numbers "greatly overstate the help being provided" and fail to note that the problem is worsening rather than improving:
[O]ver 16 percent of subprime loans were “seriously delinquent,” that is 90-days or more delinquent or in foreclosure, at the end of March. This is double the 8 percent rate from one year earlier and the highest on record. Furthermore, though defaults on subprime loans continue to drive the overall housing crisis, prime loans are also faltering, with the percent of seriously delinquent prime loans more than doubling from a year earlier.
Foreclosure prevention has been such a hot topic not only because many homeowners are behind on their mortgages but also because rising foreclosures hurt neighborhood home values, government budgets and the lending industry.