Nearly six years after the start of the housing crisis, United States homeowners, including those in Mississippi, may finally be starting to stand on more solid footing. According to new data from Lender Processing services, the number of Americans in the foreclosure process fell to almost 25 percent from April 2012. Delinquency rates dropped below 6.5 percent, the first time that’s happened since July 2008.
Experts say the decline may be related to the all-time-low mortgage rates and the advent of new government programs designed to help homeowners refinance their mortgage. Americans who may have had trouble making their payments may now be in a more comfortable situation. One expert said that, for example, some families who may have struggled with an $800 monthly mortgage payment may now have a more reasonable $500 monthly mortgage after a refinance.
Real estate agents are reporting similar news. According to data from the National Association of Realtors, foreclosures and short sales accounted for 18 percent of all sales in April. That’s down from 21 percent in March and 28 percent in April 2012. The group also reported a sales-rate of 4.97 million existing homes in April, which is slightly higher than March and nearly 10 percent higher than April 2012.
A decline in foreclosures is welcome news and a good sign for the recovering economy. Unfortunately, there are still some families battling financial hardship and struggling to keep their home. There are alternatives to foreclosure. An experienced bankruptcy attorney could examine an individual’s or family’s finances and present a number of options that may allow them to get out of debt while avoiding foreclosure and holding on to their home.