It’s not just poor people with bad credit defaulting on mortgages. Now it’s happening to luxury homeowners too.
The number of homes valued at more than $729,750, the jumbo-loan limit in the wealthiest areas, going into foreclosure soared 127 percent during the first 10 weeks of 2009 from a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac.
The foreclosure rate climbed 72 percent for homes valued at less than $417,000 and 78 percent for all homes.
“It’s the trickle-up effect,” David Adamo, chief executive of Luxury Mortgage Corp. tells Bloomberg.
“Just like homeowners in smaller homes, these homeowners anticipated being able to refinance mortgages to continue making payments and at a future date sell for a gain and put it toward their next home. That strategy backfired.”
Jumbo loans are those that exceed the amount that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will buy or guarantee. The limit is now $417,000 in most areas.
In the fourth quarter, jumbo lending slipped to 4 percent of the mortgage market, the lowest quarterly figure since Inside Mortgage Finance started tracking the data in 1990.
Another bad sign for luxury homeowners: Dave Messner, founder of RE/MAX Fine Properties in North Scottsdale, Ariz. tells BusinessWeek that cheap homes are selling, but luxury home sellers have to slash prices.
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