Real estate report

The Columbus Dispatch - Jim Weiker - 21 November 2016

Foreclosure rates at lowest in decade

Americans are doing the best job in a decade of keeping up with their mortgage payments, according to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The association's quarterly survey found that 4.52 percent of mortgages were at least 30 days delinquent at the end of September, the lowest level since 2006, before the housing market crashed. The percentage of seriously delinquent loans — those at least 90 days late — fell to 2.96 percent, the lowest rate since 2007.

An additional 1.55 percent of mortgages were in the foreclosure process, the lowest rate since 2007.

In Ohio, 5.55 percent of mortgages were delinquent at the end of September and 1.91 percent of mortgages were in the foreclosure process.

"Mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates continued to decrease in the third quarter as sustained job growth and low unemployment helped more borrowers stay current with their mortgage payments," said Marina Walsh, the association's vice president of industry analysis.

"The delinquency rate has decreased in almost every quarter since the beginning of 2013 and is below its historical average of 5.36 percent for the period from 1979 to the present."

Homes slightly less affordable in 3Q

Homes became slightly less affordable during the third quarter, according to a quarterly National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

The report, based on home prices, mortgage rates and household income, concluded that 61.4 percent of new and existing homes were affordable to families earning the median income of $65,700 during the quarter, down from 62 percent in the second quarter.

Rising home prices accounted for most of the decline in affordability. The median price of a U.S. home rose from $240,000 in the second quarter to $247,000 in the third quarter.

The most affordable major housing market in the country was Elgin, Illinois, where 94.3 percent of homes were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $82,500. Fairbanks, Alaska, was the nation’s most affordable small market, with 97.7 percent of homes sold in the third quarter being affordable to families earning the median income of $93,800.

For the 16th consecutive quarter, the San Francisco area was the nation’s least affordable major housing market. Less than 10 percent of homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $104,700.