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...“January foreclosure numbers are exhibiting a pattern very similar to a year ago: a double-digit percentage jump in December foreclosure activity followed by a 10 percent drop in January,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac “If history repeats itself we will see a surge in the numbers over the next few months as lenders foreclose on delinquent loans where neither the existing loan modification programs or the new short sale and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure alternatives works.”
...The Federal Reserve's pledge to stop buying mortgages by the end of March is sparking fears among home builders, mortgage investors and even some Fed officials that mortgage rates could rise and knock the fragile housing recovery off course.
When such a big investor stops buying, "that could lead to material increases in [interest] rates across the board," said Ronald Temple, portfolio manager at Lazard Asset Management. He sees mortgage rates rising by a percentage point when the Fed stops buying. A withdrawal of government support, combined with high unemployment and rising mortgage foreclosures, could push home prices down 20%, he said.