Close to a million homeowners are seriously behind paying their mortgages and awaiting eviction.
Experts say the backlog of seriously delinquent mortgages conceals the full extent of the foreclosure crisis and threatens to depress home prices even further.
For lenders, this could mean even more losses tied to the mortgage meltdown, as foreclosures continue in a market in which an oversupply of homes continues to push prices down.
"Lenders are having an immensely difficult time handling the capacity,” Howard Glaser, a housing industry consultant and a housing official during the Clinton administration, told The Washington Post.
“They are torn between loan modification, short sales, foreclosures, and they are finding they can't do all these things at once and do them well, so we're seeing a lot of things falling through the cracks," Glaser said.
During the first quarter, the portion of homeowners seriously delinquent on their mortgages but not facing foreclosure more than doubled to 3.04 percent, or about $227 billion in loans.
Artificially high appraisals contributed to record foreclosures because borrowers ended up owing more than their houses were worth, according to the National Association of Realtors. Now, critics say, low appraisals are hindering sales.
“When prices are down, appraisers tend to depress values because they don’t want to look bad in front of the lenders who are ultimately hiring them,” NewOak Capital CEO Ron D’Vari told Bloomberg.
“They over-extrapolate the current psychology.”
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