Recovery Brings More Foreclosures

As we continue to wonder if this recovery is here to stay, the insightful folks at RealtyTrac have shown us statistics that renew concern about foreclosure rates.

Foreclosures apparently are on the rise, as banks attend to a foreclosure backlog, and can repossess homes and resell them more easily in this improved market. In May, they say that 1 in 885 U.S. homes had a foreclosure filing. This is still good news: in Q1 2006, 1 in every 358 households was in foreclosure.

As we come to the end of another record quarter at MortgageKeeper, we can’t help but agree with this pessimistic outlook. In addition, we are noticing that the recovery varies from state to state, market to market, and sometimes even neighborhood to neighborhood. This is why local, targeted resources to help with a homeowner’s financial needs is more important than ever. So while things are looking up, there are still homeowners needing help.

Celebrating National Homeownership Month

Even as more and more Americans choose to rent their homes, homeownership still seems to be an ideal for which we strive. And for good reason–it builds and creates the strongest communities.

We’ve pulled together some of our favorite celebrations of the occasion on the Web for this week’s More Knowledge Blog. We hope you enjoy them.

* Money Management International (MMI) believes financial education to be a key to successful homeownership.

* Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stresses the USDA’s “renewed commitment to providing safe, affordable housing in our small towns and rural communities.”

* Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management encourages pre-purchase education for prospective borrowers.

* NeighborWorks America promotes homeownership “the NeighborWorks way: prepare, invest, and retain.”

* In an interesting twist, The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (an organization of real estate professionals who advocate for home buyers) offers five reasons not to buy a home.

* The Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), the originators of the 888.995.HOPE Hotline, highlight the importance of third party, independent housing counselors in sustaining homeownership.

* HUD Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones announces the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s theme for Homeownership Month: Rebuilding the Middle Class.

* And here at MK? Yesterday (June 18) we saw 4,400 counselors search our MKDesktop product. The supplied 3,900 resource referrals to homeowners and renters in 20+ U.S. states looking for support, solutions and financial stability. We celebrate homeownership like this every day.

MK Customers Speak Out

Asking your customers to complete a survey is a little like asking your significant other if an outfit makes you look fat. You *think* you want to know the answer, but then again…!

We here at MortgageKeeper bit the bullet last month and asked our users how they interacted with our MKDesktop product–their likes, dislikes, and ideas for improvement. (MKDesktop gives professional counselors and customer service agents who work with distressed and transitioning homeowners the tangible, local resources they need to bring their household budget under control. The resources also address major life events like unemployment and natural disaster.)

A whopping 40% of our users responded. Here’s what we found:

96% agreed that MKDesktop is easy to use and that it provides their clients with helpful, local resources that
they would not have otherwise known about.

98% said the MKDesktop interface saves them time and returns local referral results quickly.

64% believed that MKDesktop referrals saved their average client more than $51/month, with 27% saying the amount was more than $250/month.

97% agreed that MKDesktop is reliable and available when they need it.

As far as improvements needed? More rental resources for those transitioning out of homeownership. Better copy/paste functionality. More up to date foreclosure law information. So our work for the next few months is very clear.

In the words of astronaut Neil Armstrong, “Research is creating new knowledge.” Thanks to our customers for making us smarter than we were before. We’ll use this information to make MKDesktop better than ever.