Realty Trac reported today that foreclosure filings in July were up nearly 4 percent from the previous month. But when compared to this time last year, foreclosure activity has actually dipped 10 percent.
While the drop in default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions over the last year is a good sign, Marietta Rodriguez, NeighborWorks America’s director of homeownership and lending, cautions against "breathing a sigh of relief."
In an interview with NPR this morning, Rodriguez said that lack of employment is a major problem driving many homeowners over the edge to foreclosure.
“On the ground, our counselors are telling us they're seeing more and more consumers, more and more borrowers seeking help — that their numbers are not decreasing," Rodriguez said in the NPR interview.
Indeed today, NeighborWorks America announced that more than one million homeowners facing foreclosure have been counseled through the Congressionally-funded National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NMFC) program. And 58 percent of those being counseled report that job loss is the reason they are facing foreclosure.
NFMC has found that foreclosure counseling works. Homeowners served through the program are finding a solution to foreclosure and receiving indispensable information and guidance. A recent independent NFMC report found that the program’s clients were 60 percent more likely to avoid losing their homes to foreclosure than those who went without counseling. In addition, NFMC clients were more likely to receive a loan modification, and on average, saved $454 more on their monthly mortgage payments per month, than homeowners who received modifications but did not work with a counselor.