Friday, January 20, 2006

A 17 Year High In Ft. Worth Foreclosures

The Star Telegram has this on defaults around Ft. Worth. "The number of homes slated for foreclosure continues to rise in Tarrant County, with 1,101 headed to auction next month. That is a 17-year high. That total is up 27.6 percent from a year ago. The total of 3,583 homes facing foreclosure in Tarrant, Dallas, Denton and Collin counties is the highest since 1989."

"Rising payments on adjustable-rate mortgages, high energy costs, job losses and higher required minimum credit-card payments are driving up foreclosures. 'Any one of them would be serious,' said George Roddy. He cited last year's changes to the federal bankruptcy law, which make filing for protection more difficult, as another possible factor. Before the change, he said, Texas homeowners often turned to bankruptcy protection to keep their homes out of foreclosure."

"The number of foreclosures started edging upward a few years ago after the layoffs in the telecom and airline industries. But foreclosures have continued to rise even as the economy has improved. 'We're moving from high levels to extremely high levels,' Roddy said. 'There's no other reason they would jump other than the reasons I mentioned, and those reasons aren't going to change.'"

"Analysts said rising interest rates, particularly on adjustable-rate mortgages, have forced some homeowners to give up their houses. A typical ARM can increase the interest rate on a loan by 2 percentage points at once, driving the payment up by hundreds of dollars. 'The amount that [the payment] goes up over time is generally more than somebody's salary would go up,' said Dara Boswell, of the Consumer Credit Counseling Services office in Fort Worth."

"Boswell also said that many new-home buyers are not getting their taxes escrowed, intentionally or not. Others are surprised when they get their tax bills in the year after the purchase, because their initial tax assessments included only the land, not the house, she said."

"The homes will be auctioned on the Tarrant County Courthouse steps Feb. 7. Other county courthouses are likely to be crowded that day, too. The total number of postings in the four-county area is up 32 percent."

"Dallas County had 1,732 postings, up 31 percent. Denton County had a 52 percent increase, and Collin County was up by a third. Still, the numbers have been higher. Dallas County regularly had 1,900 postings a month in 1989, Roddy said."


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