Saskia Scholtes, Financial Times: One in every nine US homeowners with a mortgage* was behind on home loan payments or in some stage of foreclosure at the end of 2008, as mounting job losses exacerbated the housing crisis, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Thursday.
The percentage of loans that were in foreclosure or at least one payment past due rose to 11.93 per cent in the fourth quarter, the highest since the MBA began keeping records in 1972 and a jump of almost 2 percentage points since the third quarter.
Jay Brinkmann, chief economist at the MBA, said signs increased that the housing crisis had spread beyond boom-and-bust states such as California and Florida in the fourth quarter.
*One point worth mentioning: About 1/3rd of US houses are owned free and clear. So this is the percentage of mortgages, not houses. But still frightening…