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Foreclosures Up, Unemployment Down?

May 20, 2010

The Sun’s real estate reporter, Jamie Smith Hopkins, writes today that a record 4 percent of Maryland homeowners are in foreclosure. The number of delinquencies is much higher:

All told, almost 14 percent of Maryland borrowers are behind, including those in the foreclosure process and those just a month late on payments.

As Calculated Risk pointed out yesterday,  Maryland ranks 13th among states overall for loans in foreclosure and 30 days or more delinquent, with its foreclosure rate currently 12th in the nation (check the second graph in the post). What’s striking about these numbers is not just that they are high and rising, but that they are high and rising in a state with a below average unemployment rate.

Maryland’s official unemployment rate is south of 8 percent, against about 9.5 percent for the country as a whole.

Four of the five states most comparable to Maryland in mortgage delinquencies all have higher unemployment rates than us, three of them much higher than the national average.

Only Louisiana, which ranks just below Maryland in terms of delinquent borrowers, sports a lower unemployment rate than Maryland at just over 6 percent. New York, which ranks two notches below us in delinquencies, has about 9 percent unemployment.

Indiana, which ranks two notches ahead of us in delinquencies, has just under 11 percent unemployment; Ohio, just ahead of Indiana, has almost12 percent unemployment; and Rhode Island, which shows 90-day mortgage delinquencies about dead-even with Maryland’s, has an unemployment rate of about 13 percent.

What do we make of high mortgage delinquencies and low unemployment rates?

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