It seems no one can avoid the negative news surrounding the real estate industry. But is the housing market really as bad as people think?
After analyzing recent foreclosure numbers from RealtyTrac and information from various government agencies, Bankrate.com and MSN Money personal finance columnist Scott Burns both conclude that the data offers some reassuring news. The national foreclosure rate did climb 79 percent between December 2006 and December 2007, with foreclosures affecting 1.2 million properties last year. But that’s less than 1 percent of all U.S. households, which number approximately 128 million, Bankrate.com reports.
Burns notes that in the top 100 housing markets, the foreclosure rate is slightly higher at 1.38 percent. But if you rank-ordered the top 100 housing markets, only 34 had foreclosure rates above the group average and 51 areas had rates of 1 percent or less.
Some analysts have warned that the number of adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) that are scheduled to reset this year or next year could have a big impact on the overall housing market. Bankrate.com reports that the problem will not be widespread. Approximately 1.3 million of the 3.7 million prime ARMs (35 percent) and 2 million of the 2.1 million subprime ARMs (92 percent) are scheduled to reset this year or next year. But the total number of ARM resets amounts to only 3.3 million loans, affecting just 2.6 percent of U.S. households.