Laurie Goodman, senior managing director at Amherst Securities, believes one in five distressed homeowners in the U.S. are facing, or may face, foreclosure.
The analyst adds that little may be done to stem the tide of foreclosures without greater government intervention or significant principal reduction. Currently, she said 11.5 million home loans are non-performing or highly distressed.
Transition rates of negative equity homes are improving, however, from last year.
“Many banks are opposed to principal writedowns,” Goodman said. “Though it is interesting that they make good use of this for their own portfolios. We think before this crisis is over you will end up with a mandatory principal writedown program.”
Meanwhile, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, maintained an optimistic tone on the future of the housing market. He expects home prices to be depressed into 2012, and adds that the knock-on effect from the robo-signing debacle will be minimal. “It’s not going to be a significant issue,” he said.
“Household formations will pick up,” he added, in a belief that supply will not greatly outstrip demand in the long-term. The current, large inventory will provide the main downward pressure on prices going forward.
Zandi said markets will improve overall, as mortgage rates hover around 4.5%. And, he adds, housing has reached the most-affordable levels in recent memory. “By this time next year we should see measurably better job conditions,” he said.
“We aren’t quite at the bottom yet, but we are getting close,” he said.
And Kyle Lundstedt, managing director of the applied analytics division at LPS, said one in three mortgage delinquencies have been in such a state for more than a year. Perhaps most alarming to Lundstedt is the rise in prime mortgage delinquencies. “The prime markets are the place we’ve seen the most increase in foreclosure,” he said.