A decade of delinquencies
Several of you asked for a visual on the foreclosure mess. Here's one -- not actually foreclosures, but the number of Maryland borrowers behind on their payments, as measured by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The red past-due line on the chart below includes homeowners whose lenders have started foreclosure proceedings -- that's "foreclosure inventory" in the association's parlance (not to be confused with homes already foreclosed on and on banks' books). The blue line shows only those loans in the foreclosure process.
A bit of good news from the newest numbers, out Friday: Fewer people were newly delinquent -- 30 days behind -- at the end of December than at the end of September. That's true in Maryland and the nation.
Because new delinquencies usually go up at the end of the year, when people are hit by heating bills and other seasonal expenses, the mortgage bankers think that's a good sign. But no one's saying the foreclosure mess is going away anytime soon.
On a related note: U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings' foreclosure prevention workshop, postponed because of snow, has been rescheduled to Feb. 20. Here's a PDF with details.