Thursday, December 10, 2009

NeighborWorks Report Cites Job Loss or Reduced Income As Top Reason Homeowners Are Facing Foreclosure

NeighborWorks® America, the administrator of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) Program, announced that more than half (54 percent) of homeowners who received foreclosure counseling through the NFMC Program reported the primary reason they were facing foreclosure was reduced or loss of income. This finding was reported in NeighborWorks’ fourth Congressional report, which reported on NFMC Program activity through August 18, 2009.

Over the course of the NFMC program, which began January 1, 2008, the percentage of homeowners who cited reduced or loss of income as the top reason they were facing foreclosure has steadily increased. In the June 2009 Congressional report, 49 percent of NFMC counseled-homeowners reported reduction or loss of income as the primary reason; 45 percent cited this reason in the February 2009 report; as did 41 percent in the October 2008 report. This parallels the nation’s unemployment rate, which until the November 2009 employment report, had steadily increased since October 2008.

“For the last year this nation has witnessed the highest unemployment rate and the largest number of job losses in over a generation,” said Ken Wade, CEO of NeighborWorks America. “Our report proves what many already believed to be true — no longer are mortgage payment increases, or even health issues or divorce, cited as the top reason homeowners are facing foreclosure. With the unemployment rate steadily increasing over the last year, it’s no surprise that reduced or loss of income is now the primary reason countless homeowners are facing foreclosure.”

The report also found that 56 percent of all NFMC clients held a fixed-rate mortgage. Forty-three percent (43%) of clients held a fixed rate mortgage with an interest rate below 8 percent.

To date more than 750,000 families have received foreclosure counseling as a result of NFMC Program funding. Late last month NeighborWorks reported that NFMC Program clients in foreclosure were 60 percent more likely to get out of foreclosure than homeowners who did not receive foreclosure counseling.

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