Substantial growth in the mortgage market in recent years has helped many Americans become homeowners. However, as of the latest quarterly data available, June 2007, more than 1 million mortgages were in default or foreclosure, an increase of 50 percent compared with June 2005. Defaults and foreclosures on home mortgages can impose significant costs on borrowers, lenders, mortgage investors, and neighborhoods. Additionally, recent increases in defaults and foreclosures have contributed to concern and increased volatility in certain U.S. and global financial markets. These developments have raised questions about the extent and causes of problems in the mortgage market. To provide some insights on these issues, Congress asked GAO to analyze (1) the scope and magnitude of recent default and foreclosure trends, and how these trends compare with historical values, and (2) developments in economic conditions and the primary and secondary mortgage markets associated with these trends.
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