Separate home-sales reports released this week affirmed the
weakness in the U.S. housing market - and data from the Mortgage
Bankers Association suggests that further concerns may be
According to the industry group, mortgage delinquencies are on the
rise once again. The delinquency rate showed signs of falling early
in the year, but it appears to be marching upward - a sign that
more foreclosures could occur in the months or years to come. The
foreclosure rate did drop in the second quarter, at least.
MBA chief economist Jay Brinkmann noted that the delinquency rate
was closely tied to the number of new unemployment claims. Jobless
claims have been on the rise of late; they topped half a million
last week for the first time since November.
"On the surface, there is good news on the foreclosure front, but
not on short term delinquencies," Reuters quoted Brinkmann as
On the back of the bad news in housing, Nouriel Roubini, the
economist who has become famous for his prognostications of doom,
said to CNBC that the risk of a double-dip recession is increasing.
He pegs the chances of a double-dip at 40 percent.
By Steve Monfort