Sunday, October 09, 2005

Soaring Foreclosure Rates 'Everywhere'

Several reports from around the US point to an escalating debt problem for homeowners. Colorado, "The cycle has become vicious, and it's showing up in Weld County's foreclosure rate, which is reaching all-time highs. Last year, Weld had 1,155 foreclosures on the books, almost 50 percent higher than neighboring Larimer County. By July 25 of this year, Weld reached 779 foreclosures, just one more than the entire year for Larimer in 2004."

"The foreclosure rate is on track to continue to skyrocket. As of Oct. 3, there were 1,084 foreclosures in Weld, 26.5 percent more than at the same time last year. But, it's not just Weld; the foreclosure rate is up everywhere, said Rhonda Corman, a northern Colorado economist. Foreclosures in New York, for example, are at record highs, she said. Denver, too, is seeing a 15 percent increase from last year."

"'We're seeing an over-extension of our consumerism and we're using our homes' equity, or perceived equity, as a way to finance it,' Corman said. 'A lot of people tend to walk away rather than face the debt.'"

In Texas, "In Tarrant County (Ft. Worth), more than 8,500 homes have been scheduled for foreclosure this year. That number is up more than 50 percent from three years ago. George Roddy, president of Foreclosure Listing Service, said borrowers are upside down on 15 percent to 20 percent of the homes that go to foreclosure in a typical month."

"Another sign that Michigan's protracted economic downturn is taking a high toll on people are reports that show local real estate foreclosures are skyrocketing. The number of real estate foreclosures this year has jumped, both locally and statewide. The Kalamazoo County Register of Deeds Office expects to handle nearly 600 foreclosures this year, up from the 74 cases it handled a decade ago."

"What's more, the average value of foreclosed homes has jumped as well. One local asset-recovery specialist reports that the average price of a foreclosed home five years ago was around $30,000. This year, the average value of a foreclosed home is around $150,000."

"That suggests that homeowners facing foreclosure aren't just low-income people with tenuous work histories."

"'It's startling,' said Frank Sampsell, deputy register in the Deeds Office. 'On any given day, my desk holds about 350 sheriff's deed files, and each is a family or resident of our county under extreme financial duress. Lisa Blake, a real estate executive, said that five years ago she handled about 20 repossessed listings annually. In each of the past two years, she's processed and sold more than 100."

"'Instead of just rental properties in tough areas, I'm getting $200,000 and $300,000 homes that families are living in and losing,' she said."

"Local critics of the sub-prime lending industry say a spike in home foreclosures in Greater Cleveland is a sign of a growing sub-prime market here. Ameriquest and sub-prime lender Argent Mortgage Co. are subsidiaries of ACC Capital Holdings. Argent, which entered the Cleveland market in the last couple of years, was accused last month by the state of Georgia of violating state mortgage laws."

"Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is leading a 30-state investigation, Ohio is not included, into Ameriquest's lending practices."


At 7:20 PM, Blogger Chip said...

In my lifetime and as a novice, foreclosure sales have been a sort of mysterious process that involves either insider knowledge and contacts or super-tedious research and standing on courthouse steps, cash in hand, on the hottest day of summer.

Does anyone think that the sheer volume of forthcoming foreclosures, and the availability of the Internet for communication, will result in a dramatically new way of selling such properties? Or at least of putting potential buyers in touch with the paper-holders?


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