Of course, it depends on where you get your data - from a local rag that occasionally chooses to ignore key statistics* or a national news organization that has no interest in protecting the real estate lobby.
First, the local "protected" news, as printed by the Tampa Tribune:
"The Mortgage Bankers Association, in its quarterly mortgage survey released Wednesday, reported that the percentage of mortgages that started the foreclosing process in the April-through-June quarter rose to 0.43 percent. That was up from 0.41 percent in the first quarter and was the highest in just more than a year."
Wow - that doesn't sound so bad. Then...
"Even with the increase, the foreclosure figure is low by historical standards and not overly worrisome to lenders. But it suggests that some borrowers are feeling pinched."
Well - really, not so bad at all. And then, look at this:
"But the survey showed an improvement in the number of late mortgage payments made in the second quarter. The percentage of payments that were 30 or more days past due for all loans tracked edged down to 4.39 percent in the April-through-June period. That was lower than the 4.41 percent delinquency rate in the first quarter and was the best showing in a year."
With all of this great news, from a TAMPA, FLORIDA newspaper, you'd think it was a minor blip on the radar screen. No mention of Florida, no mention of what the rate was a year ago, and no mention of month-to-month comparisons....hmmmmm....better check another source, here....
This now from CNN/Money (neither of which has financial dependence on the real estate lobby):
"In August, 115,292 properties entered into foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure sales. That was 24 percent above the level in July and 53 percent higher than a year earlier. "
That is a lot of people losing their homes. And then, this bombshell hits:
"Some of the bellwether real estate market states are among the leading foreclosure markets. Florida had more than 16,533 properties in foreclosure in August. That led all states and was 50 percent higher than in July and 62 percent higher than in August 2005."
Finally, this from Rich Sharga of RealtyTrac, a foreclosure tracking service:
"'Usually, foreclosures are a lagging [market] indicator,' he says. 'But we've never had a situation like this with adjustable-rate mortgages amounting to $400 billion to $500 billion coming up for adjustment over the rest of the year.'"
Well, we can conclude 2 things for sure from this comparison-contrast of news reporting on the same topic:
1. Get your news from more than one place. Even if it's a newspaper (supposedly one of the last bastions of honest reporting), there are bills to be paid, and they will play softball with stories that affect their primary advertisors.
2. The meltdown in Florida is only getting started. Put on your radiation suit, climb into your 1950's era bomb-shelter, and don't come out until mid 2009. Okay-just kidding about that! Really, don't come out until mid 2011.
*quick: name the #1 advertisor in any given newspaper....RIGHT! The REALTY section!