The mortgage lending situation in which we find ourselves is a mess, that is one thing I think we can all agree on.

Here is some information from the City of Boston’s, I mean, the Mayor’s Home Center, set up to assist residents in purchasing and maintaining ownership of their own homes.

Some of this is interesting; some is helpful; some is disturbing. (80% of adjustable rate loans going into foreclosure never reached their first reset?)

Statement from the Home Center:

During it’s [sic] first year, the Mayor’s Foreclosure program:

Received over 1,000 calls;
Opened 890 foreclosure prevention cases.

When those clients contacted us:

42% were already behind in their mortgage payments
32% had received a foreclosure petition (Soldiers and Sailors Notice)
26% were still current on their mortgage

We identify the causes of the homeowner’s mortgage problems:

56% cannot afford the payments (*)
22% suffer a “life event” (death, illness, divorce)
21% struggle with an income loss (often loosing [sic] their second job, overtime etc)
1% had other miscellaneous causes

(*) DND’s Research unit has determined that in 2006, 80% of the adjustable rate loans in Boston that go to foreclosure are foreclosed before the loan resets to a higher interest rate. The median time between the mortgage and the foreclosure petition filing was 1.4 years and 69% of the mortgages were less than 2 years old.

Of the 890 cases, we completed work on 559 cases (231 remain active).

In 217 of the completed cases (38%), the homeowner has been able to avoid foreclosure. In most cases (over 50%) we worked out something with the existing lender. Some refinanced, others are restructuring their debt though bankruptcy. Some have sold their home and some are in litigation with their lender.

Homeowners in mortgage trouble are often hesitant to call for help. The earlier folks call for help, the more we can do for them.

Anyone Boston homeowner who is concerned or struggling with their mortgage is encouraged to call the Boston HOME Center at 617-635-4336 (HOME).

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