There's just no winning if you're invested in the housing sector. Bad news is...well...bad news, and now it seems that good news is also bad news.
New data within the past week from credit agency TransUnion revealed that fewer homeowners are late on their mortgage payments compared to the year-ago period. Currently 6.19% of all borrowers nationwide are late by 60 days or more on their mortgage. This represents a moderate drop from the 6.77% figure from last year but is still more than three times higher than the national pre-recession average of 2%.
Worse yet, the data suggest that in relation to other forms of credit, housing continues to improve at a very slow rate, meaning it could be years before the market normalizes.
So where's the really bad news in this supposedly good news? It relates to the slow recovery in delinquency rates and the fact that housing prices are falling once again.
TransUnion's data finds a direct correlation between falling housing prices and homeowners' willingness to pay their mortgage -- who would have thought, right? Apparently the more homeowners sink underwater on their mortgages, the more willing they are to walk away from their homes.
In addition, the foreclosure process has only gotten worse in many states with the average time from foreclosure notification to bank seizure lasting as long as two years. For states like Arizona, Nevada, California, and Florida, which are already glutted with foreclosures, it likely means years more of continued pricing pressure on homes. The whole sector is literally being catch-22'd by weekly housing data figures, and it looks to put continued pressure on homebuilding stocks.
Things continue to go from bad to worse in the housing sector, and it looks like we may just crash straight through the double-dip floor and head right into the basement.
When will the housing sector recover? State your case in the comments section below and consider adding KB Home, Lennar and DR Horton as well as your own personalized list of companies to My Watchlist.
Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy that has a solid foundation.