Case-Shiller Shows Still Strong Annual Housing Price Gains

The February 2016 S&P Case Shiller home price index shows a seasonally adjusted 5.4% price increase from a year ago for the 20 metropolitan housing markets and a 4.6% yearly price increase in the top 10 housing markets.  Home prices are still climbing over double the rate of inflation, although this is a slower pace than last month.

Delinquencies and Foreclosures Up Again; Time in Foreclosure at 1056 Days

The Mortgage Monitor for September (pdf) from Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS, formerly LPS) reported that there were 737,254 home mortgages, or 1.46% of all mortgages outstanding, remaining in the foreclosure process at the end of September, which was down from 747,930, or 1.48% of all active loans that were in foreclosure at the end of August, and down from 1.89% of all mortgages that were in foreclosure in September of last year.

The More Things Change The More They Remain the Same

While we think something is going to be done about illegal foreclosures and robo-signing of documents, Reuters exposes it's still going on:

Reuters reviewed records of individual county clerk offices in five states -- Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and North and South Carolina -- with searchable online databases. Reuters also examined hundreds of documents from court case files, some obtained online and others provided by attorneys.

The searches found more than 1,000 mortgage assignments that for multiple reasons appear questionable: promissory notes missing required endorsements or bearing faulty ones; and "complaints" (the legal documents that launch foreclosure suits) that appear to contain multiple incorrect facts.

These are practices that the 14 banks and other loan servicers said had occurred only on a small scale and were halted more than six months ago.

Reuters doesn't go into a financial analysis, but while the settlement originally reported was $20 billion for robo-signing, the reality is the final deal isn't done. Bottom line, when fines are so weak they are about the cost of the toll token for traveling down the screwing over homeowners road, you can bet banks will continue to forge documents to foreclose. Robo-signing is illegal.