“Occupancy Fraud” Underlies Many Defaults

Ever since the mortgage meltdown there have been plenty of people wanting to point the finger at corrupt mortgage brokers, but this article I found at Realtor.org once again proves there is plenty of blame to go around.

“Investors turn up frequently in analyses of loans that defaulted within months after origination, according to studies of foreclosed loans.

A study by Fitch Ratings looked at subprime loans that defaulted within the first 12 months even though borrowers had good credit scores. In two-thirds of the cases, borrowers said they intended to live in the property but never moved in.

BasePoint Analytics, a provider of fraud-detection solutions, also studied this issue, referred to as “occupancy fraud.” BasePoint found that roughly 20 percent of mortgage fraud involved occupancy fraud.

Much of the occupancy fraud was concentrated in markets such as Florida, Nevada, and Arizona, where prices had been appreciating rapidly, said Kevin Kanouff, president of Clayton Fixed-Income Services, a unit of Clayton Holdings Inc. that reviews about 7 million loans a month on behalf of investors.

Investors tend to be more likely than borrowers who live in the homes to walk away from their purchases when home prices fall. “We couldn’t understand what was driving so many borrowers to default so early in the life of their mortgage,” said Glenn Costello, a managing director at Fitch.”

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