NJ has highest percentage of mortgage foreclosures, Although first place is the ultimate goal in many situations, when it comes to foreclosure rates, its an unwelcome victory. According to CoreLogic, a leading provider in real estate data, New Jersey has the highest percentage of foreclosures among mortgaged homes at 5.5 percent. New York and Florida tied for second place at 4.1 percent. New Jersey also had the highest serious delinquency rate at 9.1%, according to the report, again surpassing both Florida and New York. Yet, overall the countrys foreclosure rate is dropping. The recent report states that 605,000 homes in the United States were in some stage of foreclosure as of October, 2014, compared to 875,000 homes in October, 2013, a 30 percent decrease.
So why are foreclosure rates decreasing nationwide, but increasing here in New Jersey? One reason for this is New Jerseys foreclosure process, says Affordable Housing Alliance foreclosure counselor, Linda Osborn.
The process takes much longer from beginning to end and has caused severe backlogs in the county courts, Osborn states. This rise in foreclosures is due to the release of the backlog caused by years of the freezing of foreclosures by major mortgage lenders. Foreclosures are now moving swiftly through the process. There will be no more three to five year foreclosure periods. Hurricane Sandy, no doubt, has also played a huge part in the spike in foreclosures, as well.
Another reason for New Jerseys higher foreclosure rate is that the state has changed the rules for registering for foreclosure mediation in 2014, Osborn tells us. Prior to 2014, homeowners could register for foreclosure mediation in their county and be accompanied by a state appointed attorney and a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing counselor free of charge. This strengthened the homeowners chances of getting their mortgage modified with their lender.
While this program does still exist, the homeowner must register within 60 days of being served a summons and complaint for foreclosure, while no longer receiving assistance from an attorney or counselor. Many homeowners miss their deadline and feel intimidated to go up against a lenders attorney at mediation. The Affordable Housing Alliance, a HUD certified housing agency, acted as a leader in this service for struggling homeowners.
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