Realty Check

S&P And The Staggering "New" Home Foreclosure Numbers

Foreclosure Sign

Whenever I see the word “traunches,” my eyes tend to roll backwards in my head because the world of mortgage backed securities and how they are rated is positively mind numbing.

But I can’t ignore a report from Standard and Poors today that puts some staggering new numbers on the mortgage crisis.

Delinquencies for Alt-A mortgages (these are the low-doc, no-doc loans where you don’t have to prove your income, etc.) rated between 2005 and 2007 are continuing to climb, with total delinquencies now as high as 17 percent in some cases. That’s 6 percentage points higher than previous estimates.

And of course it’s worse for subprimes. Subprime delinquencies are now as high as 37 percent for mortgages originated in 2006, that’s four percentage points higher than previous estimates. And the 2007 issuance year, according to S&P, “continues to be the worst-performing vintage in terms of cumulative losses.”

That leaves me to wonder why the estimates were off? Did S&P expect home prices to stabilize or lender/government programs to save more folks from falling behind on payments? Clearly things aren’t improving, and the more folks I talk to, the more I hear that we are not really near the end of the foreclosure crisis.

I know the Realtors, when they report existing home sales tomorrow, will likely say we’re bumping along the bottom with sales beginning to rebound.

But I think this summer will be far more telling; More adjustable rate mortgages will reset, gas prices will balloon, home equity will continue to dry up and consumers will be left holding a big bag of nothing.

Realty Check: OFHEO Data

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