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Homeowners with Negative Equity on the Decline

The extent to which Boston area homeowners are underwater on their mortgage is easing, according to the latest Zillow Negative Equity Report for the second quarter of 2012.  Locally, negative equity has declined from 22 percent of homeowners with mortgages who owed more on the loan than their home was worth in the first quarter to 19.6 percent in the three months from April – June.  By comparison, nationwide, 30.9 of homeowners with mortgages had negative equity in the second quarter of this year, which was down from 31.4 percent in the first quarter.  Additionally in metropolitan Boston, the 90 day delinquency rate for all mortgage homes is 7.5 percent, which is well below the national rate of 9.2 percent.  At the end of June, there were approximately 160,000 homes in negative equity in the Greater Boston area.

Notably, borrowers who previously faced foreclosure in 2009 or 2010 may be eligible for a free independent review of their foreclosures and now have until December 31, 2012 to submit their request for a review.  The reviews are intended to determine whether borrowers suffered financial injury due to improper handling of the foreclosure action and, if so, how much compensation should be paid.  Originally ordered by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and Federal Reserve Board in April 2011, the OCC has recently mailed letters to 4 million likely eligible borrowers notifying them of this opportunity.  Other borrowers who believe they are eligible for a review of their foreclosure can request application forms by calling (888) 952-9105. This latest extension is the third granted by the government to borrowers to request a review.