Housing woes hit title insurers: Report

Title insurers report a spike in the number of claims, slowdown in new business; possible sign of more pain to come, according to a new report


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- In yet another sign of pain in the troubled real estate sector, title insurers are seeing a big increase in the number of claims, according to a new report.

The Wall Street Journal reported on its website Sunday that title insurers like First American Corp. (Charts, Fortune 500) are fielding a significant rise in claims - yet more evidence of the housing market's woes.

Mortgage Rates
30 yr fixed 4.29%
15 yr fixed 3.23%
5/1 ARM 3.33%
30 yr refi 4.26%
15 yr refi 3.20%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

Title insurance policies essentially protects lenders and homebuyers against challenges to a property's ownership and, according to the Journal, are often seen as a wider measure of the health of the housing market than foreclosures.

Homeowners can file claims, but so too can subcontractors that file liens when work on a house goes unpaid.

First American reported a 52 percent spike in claims in the second quarter compared to the year earlier, the paper said.

Some title insurers also say new business has slowed - a possible sign, the Journal said, of more problems ahead.

"If you want to know what's going on with mortgage activity, you look at title orders," Nik Fisken, an insurance-industry analyst at Stephens Inc., told the paper. Top of page

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.