The housing market is quickly recovering, and this is a welcome change for many Americans. It not only means that more Americans can keep their homes, but most experts believe that it is also a sign of overall economic stability and recovery. But, as issues like “the housing bubble” and “the mortgage crisis” begin to fade from memory and lose their place in media and social dialogue, one group of Americans will likely get overlooked—those who are still struggling to stay afloat and maintain their housing payments. This group of Americans needs to know that there are still resources and programs available that can help them. One such program is foreclosure counseling.
The Status of the Recovery
RealtyTrac reported that in September 2013 foreclosures were down 27 percent since last year, and foreclosure starts were at a seven-year low in the third quarter. Again, all of this is promising for the housing market and the economy as a whole. But, there are areas where many consumers are still being negatively affected by foreclosure. Two such areas are the states of California and Florida.
In California, foreclosures were down 58.3% from a year ago! Even so, 15,804 foreclosures were filed on properties there in September; that number represents a large number of affected consumers. And here at Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions, we can attest the remaining need for housing help in California, as we have still been helping a number of consumers who are struggling with their housing payments. In fact, through the first six months of 2013, we helped approximately 1,400 California homeowners with our foreclosure counseling.
The story for Florida homeowners is similar but arguably a little less promising. There have been general trends of recovery but still plenty of signs that homeowners need assistance. Pre-foreclosures have been on a downward trend in the state since May, but rose 16% from August to September 2013. And while California’s percentage of foreclosed units by area is just slightly above the national average at .12% (the national average is .1%), Florida is much higher at a whopping .25%!
Millions Still Need Assistance
It’s clear that individuals in these states and elsewhere still need to have trustworthy options for counseling services and other housing assistance.
For those consumers who are still struggling to make payments, foreclosure counseling from a HUD-certified agency like Clearpoint provides some unique benefits. In fact, it is estimated that consumers who choose to work with a housing counselor are 1.7 times more likely to avoid foreclosure than those who do not work with a counselor. Why? Because housing counselors help consumers make a realistic plan, provide long-term budget skills and advice, and provide access to numerous government programs and other housing options that give consumers flexibility and more realistic payment plans. Here is a list of some of the plans consumers can access via the help of a housing counselor:
- Making Home Affordable (MHA)
- Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP)
- Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA)
- Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
- Cash for Keys
- Deed for Lease Program
- Keep Your Home California Program (KYHC)*
*For California residents only
Getting Started Is Easy
Consumers in need of these services should contact a HUD-approved agency in order to explore options and potentially save their homes. To get started with Clearpoint, call 1.877.412.2227 or fill out our quick form to schedule your free housing counseling session now.