ST. LOUIS – Missouri home buyers have had an easier time paying back their mortgages than much of the rest of the nation, according to a report released yesterday by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
The first quarter report shows 4.5 percent of Missouri mortgages as being “seriously delinquent.” That’s the lowest percentage in the St. Louis Fed’s district, which includes seven states. Nationally, 7.3 percent of mortgages are “seriously delinquent.”
Lower real estate prices in the Midwest at the start of the housing crisis have made for a milder housing crisis in the Eighth District. Thank gravity for that: With lower home prices to begin with, we less room to fall.
In the year’s first quarter, Missouri’s home prices were half a percent higher from last year’s fourth quarter. While that is not the streaking comeback seller and economists would like to see, it’s considerably better than the national increase of .16 percent.
The bad news for the state is that delinquent loans increased slightly—by 0.4 percent—in the fourth quarter.
Missouri’s two biggest cities are having a harder time than the rest of the state, with 10 zip codes between St. Louis and Kansas City showing more than 10 percent of their mortgages as seriously delinquent.
Nationally, there’s evidence that we’re still not quite out of the housing crisis yet. Bloomberg reported this week that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have spent $8.5 billion since 2007 to manage the foreclosed homes in their inventories. By the end of last year, the government-sponsored banks owned a total of about 180,000 foreclosed properties, triple what they were in 2007.
At the same time, some indicators show home purchases are on the rise. Earlier in the week, a survey released by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed the highest number of mortgage applications since 2009. Additionally, 30 year mortgage rates finally broke their six week streak of record breaking lows.