From the Record:
New Jersey leads the nation in the rate of foreclosures started during the third quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Friday.
Nationally, by contrast, the worst of the foreclosure crisis has passed, and levels of mortgage distress have returned to pre-recession levels.
More than one in six New Jersey mortgage holders is either in foreclosure or late on payments, the Washington-based mortgage group said. About 7 percent of mortgages in New Jersey were delinquent on payments at the end of the third quarter, while another 8 percent were in the foreclosure process. That’s down a bit from a year ago, but significantly higher than the national rates.
New Jersey has lagged behind the nation in resolving the foreclosure crisis because foreclosures in the state, as in about two-dozen states, go through the courts, which tends to slow down the process. In addition, the system is still catching up from a near-freeze in foreclosure activity in 2011, after questions arose about mortgage industry wrongdoing.
Nationally, the percentage of loans that were in foreclosure or seriously late on payments have returned to the levels of late 2007, just before the recession began, according to the mortgage bankers.
“We are now back to pre-crisis levels for most measures,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist. “The loans that are seriously delinquent are primarily loans that were made prior to the downturn: 74 percent of them were originated in 2007 or earlier.
“Loans made in recent years continue to perform extremely well due to the improving market and tight credit conditions; loans originated in 2012 and later accounted for only 4 percent of all seriously delinquent loans,” Fratantoni added.