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August 21, 2009

Md. mortgage troubles

One in eight -- that's how many Maryland borrowers were at least a month behind on their mortgage payments during the spring, according to new numbers.

What can you do if you're in that group?

The state says to call for help immediately -- before you're in trouble, even, if you're still current but see problems on the horizon. It has a foreclosure-help hot line -- 877-462-7555 -- to put you in touch with a nonprofit housing counseling agency near you. Or you can find the list of HUD-approved nonprofits here.

The struggle to get assistance from lenders has been well publicized, so I wondered how much success local foreclosure-prevention counselors are having. The state Department of Housing and Community Development said the nonprofits helped just over 4,500 people avoid foreclosure in the fiscal year that ended June 30. (That runs the gamut from people who received a repayment plan to those who got their mortgage refinanced, and includes folks who sold their homes.)

That "avoided foreclosure" group is up 33 percent from the previous fiscal year, the state says.

But nearly 13,700 in total saw counselors in the year ending June 30. So what happened to the nearly 9,200 who aren't on record as avoiding foreclosure? The state says some of those homeowners are still in counseling, some dropped out of the system and the rest ended up in foreclosure, bankruptcy or similarly depressing circumstances.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Foreclosure help, The foreclosure mess


The uncomfortable truth has been that until a borrower is 90 days behind no one at the bank will take their pleas for help seriously.

Pretty much everyone who had a spare room to rent to a stranger (and similar) has done so.

Can you post a distribution by county? I'm wondering if the hot spots from last year and earlier this year (e.g., Baltimore City and PG County) are still hot spots or if higher end homes/homeowners in say Montgomery County are finally going under.

Wish I could, Mike, but the Mortgage Bankers Association figures are statewide only.

The Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance has been tracking foreclosure court filings in the city, if you're interested:

Just remember that those represent the number of homes that lenders began foreclosure proceedings on in the given time period, which is one piece of what the mortgage bankers track.

By the way, the last time I looked at foreclosure filings by county -- for 2007 -- Montgomery had a lot (and had seen a big increase year-over-year).

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie

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