One of the most common threads between our blog posts is the economic recession and the broad range of effects it’s had on the country. In addition to the financial pressures created by elevated unemployment rates, the residential real estate market also took a plunge during the downturn. Homeowners, who may have been dealing with other debts, suddenly had an underwater property, meaning that they owed more on their mortgage than the home was worth. In this situation, lenders may have moved forward with foreclosure action.
Now that it seems as though the economy has turned around, real estate markets have also recouped lost value. As a result of this, individuals who are entangled in foreclosure proceedings may now suddenly have positive home equity.
According to RealtyTrac, a national research firm, the number of homes caught in foreclosure with positive equity jumped to 35 percent in the first quarter of 2014. That figure made a quarter-to-quarter increase of 4 points. Homeowners who are in this situation have fallen behind on home mortgage payments at some point, but the foreclosure process hasn't been completed. While waiting for banks to move forward, the value of their homes has jumped.
Homes with positive equity involved in foreclosure may not need to be included in that process any longer. In other words, homeowners may be able to effectively stop foreclosure and sell their home at a market value. This way, they can settle a major debt and move forward.
Of course, dealing with foreclosure on top of other personal debts can be complex. As such, individuals may want to explore all available options, including personal bankruptcy, to clear debts with the possibility of building a stronger financial future.
Source: The Washington Post, "More homeowners no longer need to be in foreclosure, and they may not even know it," Dina Elboghdady, April 18, 2014