The Mortgage Bankers Association released a grim report today revealing that nearly one in seven households with mortgages is behind on payments or already in foreclosure.
Last year, only one in 10 were behind. Two years ago, the number was just 7.3%.
We’re now in what is clearly the second leg downward of the mortgage mess. While the early days of the mortgage crisis were driven largely by people saddled with complex mortgages they couldn’t afford to pay, now even homeowners with relatively sane mortgages are running into trouble as unemployment soars into the double digits.
In a rising housing market, joblessness doesn’t necessarily trigger defaults. In those situations, jobless homeowners can sell their homes and pay off the mortgage. But with the home market still ailing and prices still falling in many areas, jobless homeowners are forced into short-sales and defaults.