Georgia homeowners are fighting foreclosure
A new study is reporting that Georgia homeowners are actively working to keep from defaulting on their mortgages. According to the study, which was performed by financial analysts from Atlanta-based Equifax Capital Markets, homeowners are more commonly diverting funds from other financial obligations toward mortgages in order to stave off home foreclosure. In addition, fewer homeowners are resorting to purposeful strategic defaults in Georgia and throughout the country.
The study examined Georgia foreclosure records, comparing whether homeowners first defaulted on their mortgages or on other debts such as car loans, student loans, or credit cards. Based on the information gathered, the study measured the number of months between the homeowner’s credit card default and the receipt of the first foreclosure notice. This time period is known as default distance.
According to Equifax, a longer default distance tends to mean that the homeowner is diverting money from credit card payments to mortgage payments in an effort to remain in the home and keep foreclosure at bay. In Georgia, the default distance averaged approximately 11.5 months as of September 2010. That length of time is an increase from the previous distance of 10.5 months, which was recorded in early 2008.
The average longer time period may indicate that the real estate market is growing more stable, analysts say. Subprime mortgages and high loan to home value ratios are likely to lead to default and foreclosure, so the greater default distance appears to indicate that these are occurring with less frequency.
The study also found that states with a judicial approval process for foreclosures had a longer average default distance. For example, Florida’s default distance was approximately 15.5 months. This is likely due to the increased time that is generally associated with the court process.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Georgia homeowners fighting to stay in homes longer”, J. Scott Trubey, 25 February 2011