For more than 3 years legislators hid behind a “housing recovery” as one of the factors for not supporting HARP 3.0. It didn’t matter that the recovery was never as strong as it was being made out to be. The people that most needed HARP expanded were a very long way from the housing recovery making a positive impact on their financial situation. A full recovery was always 10 years in the future. Well, now it appears better days for underwater homeowners may be farther away than we imagined. The housing recovery is stalling. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that 21 of the top 50 markets saw negative equity rise during Q4 of 2014. This does not sound like a recovery:
In 21 of the 50 biggest U.S. housing markets, the number of borrowers who owe more on their homes than the homes are worth increased during the fourth quarter, according to a report to be released Friday by Zillow Group Inc., a real-estate information company.
Nationwide, the picture got better, but only marginally so. About 16.9% of all mortgaged homes were underwater in the fourth quarter, down 0.1 percentage point from the third quarter. Zillow said the normal share of underwater borrowers is generally thought to be around 5%.
Actually, it sounds like the complete opposite. A hopeful person might think this would scare Congress into taking some action before this soft “Housing Recovery” completely reverses direction. A good place for Congress to start would be passing HARP 3.0. But I’m not a very hopeful person.