The Washington Post has a really interesting article about a housing counselor in the D.C. area who saw the subprime meltdown first hand.
Coppedge saw it coming in slow motion. Around this time last year, she was mostly dealing with renters who were behind on payments. Rarely did she counsel at-risk homeowners. When she did, they were usually suffering a one-time setback such as job loss.
“Then in midsummer, we felt the tide turning,” Coppedge said. “People started trickling in. First they came in to express concern about their loans and gathered information. Then by September, everything picked up speed and suddenly people were telling us they were behind on their mortgages.”
Many of those people had taken out adjustable-rate loans. Some used them to buy homes they otherwise could not afford when prices soared in 2005 and 2006. Others were constantly refinancing to pull cash out of their homes.
These loans were usually subprime mortgages, typically made to people with blemished credit. But they were in no way limited to low-income borrowers, said Coppedge, whose recent clients typically earn $60,000 to $110,000 a year.
“People from all walks are getting hit by this,” Coppedge said.
Meanwhile, the word over at the Credit Slips blog is that the Bush mortgage rate freeze will mainly help lobbyists for the banking industry avoid a particularly distasteful bankruptcy bill that is currently being kicked around in congress.