Foreclosure is Down, Home Prices are Up. So Why is MK Breaking Records?

It’s a question we here at MortgageKeeper have asked ourselves. The Housing Crisis seems to be easing. Foreclosure is down. For sale signs in our neighborhoods are replaced by “sold” signs a lot faster these days. So why is the demand for MortgageKeeper reaching record levels?

To be sure, we’ve improved MK’s market coverage–160 cities and counting. We have more clients, and our data has a new interface that our users seem to like.

But this doesn’t explain why long-time users of our product are seeing their need for our product go through the roof.

The punchline: markets are up, but most Americans aren’t seeing their incomes increase. Poverty rates are still higher now than they were before the recession started.

The catalyst for past housing recoveries has been first time homebuyers. But where are they this time?  Answer: they are saving for a hefty downpayment. Typical first time buyers are middle income Americans–those with little savings and less-than-perfect credit. With these limitations, qualifying for a mortgage in this stricter environment can be almost impossible.

Many buyers this time around are investors or retirees–who are more likely to pay cash and win any housing bidding war (see this summary of a recent article in The Wall Street Journal).

So while a recovery seems to be on the horizon, MortgageKeeper continues to help thousands of struggling homeowners every day to find their financial footing–hopefully in time to take advantage of the sunnier housing outlook.

Single Women, Single Men, and Homeownership

I have many single friends–men and women. If I were to generalize among them, I’d say my single male friends tend to rent their homes, while my single female friends overwhelmingly own.

The National Association of Realtors has discovered the same thing. Their research found:

* Single women purchase at nearly 2x the rate of single men
* Single women made up 18% of households, while single men accounted for 10%
* Single women are more discriminating, with nearly half needing to “love” the house before they consider its value and cost. More than 75% of men considered value and cost first in their home buying decision.

These numbers are especially interesting when women’s salaries are only 82% of what the average man makes. As the article explains, “…women are ‘making the most sacrifices to get into a home, but they’re still placing a high value on owning a home of their own.'”

Does this research seem viable to you? Do your friends and acquaintances fit with these stats?