With forbearance plans coming to an end, many are concerned the housing market in Arizona will experience a wave of foreclosures similar to what happened after the housing bubble 15 years ago. Here are a few reasons why that won’t happen.
There are fewer homeowners in trouble this time.
After the last housing crash, about 9.3 million households lost their homes to a foreclosure, short sale, or because they gave it back to the bank.
As stay-at-home orders were issued early last year, the fear was the pandemic would similarly impact the housing industry. Many projected up to 30% of all mortgage holders would enter the forbearance program. In reality, only 8.5% did, which is now down to 2.2%.
Last Friday, the total number of mortgages still in forbearance stood at 1,221,000. That’s far fewer than the 9.3 million households that lost their homes just over a decade ago.
Most of the mortgages in forbearance have enough equity to sell their homes.
Due to rapidly rising home prices over the last two years, of the 1.22 million homeowners currently in forbearance, 93% have at least 10% equity in their homes. This 10% equity is significant because it enables homeowners to sell their homes and pay the related expenses instead of facing the hit on their credit that a foreclosure or short sale would create.
The remaining 7% might not have the option to sell, but if the entire 7% of those 1.22 million homes went into foreclosure, that would total about 85,400 mortgages. To give that number context, here are the annual foreclosure numbers for the three years leading up to the pandemic:
- 2017: 314,220
- 2018: 279,040
- 2019: 277,520
The probable number of foreclosures coming out of the forbearance program is nowhere near the number of foreclosures that impacted the housing crash 15 years ago. It’s less than one-third of any of the three years before the pandemic.
The current market can absorb listings coming to the market
When foreclosures hit the market back in 2008, there was an oversupply of houses for sale. It’s exactly the opposite today. In 2008, over a nine-month supply of listings on the market. Today, that number is less than a three-month supply. Here’s a graph showing the difference between the two markets.
The data indicates why Ivy Zelman, founder of the primary housing market analytical firm Zelman and Associates, was on point when she stated:
“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”