From the Press of Atlantic City:
New Jersey now leads the nation with the highest percentage of loans in foreclosure, the Mortgage Bankers Association says.
South Jersey is also mired in the problem.
Sheriff’s sales on mortgage foreclosures in Atlantic County have nearly doubled from a year ago, said Pam Hoerter, a fiscal officer for the Sheriff’s Office.
“There are more. A lot more,” she said.
The public property auctions, held every Thursday, average about 20 to 35 a week now, compared with about 10 to 15 weekly a year ago, she said.
Atlantic and Cumberland counties saw the second and third highest rates of foreclosure activity in the state in April, according to California-based market data firm RealtyTrac.
An abundance of distressed homes weighs on overall home values.
And the region’s weak job market has done little to lift housing demand, said Richard Perniciaro, director of Atlantic Cape Community College’s Center for Regional and Business Research.
“Getting out of this mess is going to take a long time,” he said.
The state’s current second wave of foreclosure activity — which includes initial filings, notices of sale and bank repossessions — has gradually built up over the past two years, said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.
This counters a national trend that has seen the number of distressed properties declining.
Part of this is because foreclosures in New Jersey can take a very long time.
The processing of distressed properties that happened in much of the U.S. from 2009 to 2011 is now occurring here, Blomquist said.
“It’s almost as if in New Jersey there was a time capsule, and this got pushed down,” he said. “The foreclosures got put in a time capsule, they’ve been dug up again and they’re happening.”