From the Record:
New Jersey continues to lead the nation in mortgage distress and foreclosure activity, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Tuesday.
One in eight – about 12.7 percent – of mortgage holders in the Garden State were either late on their monthly payments or in the foreclosure process during the third quarter, the MBA said. But that number is down from 15 percent in the same period last year, as lenders continue to chip away at a backlog of distressed properties that built up in the foreclosure pipeline after the housing crash.
“There is some chance that we are finally turning the corner on this,” said Charles Steindel, an economist at Ramapo College and former chief economist for Governor Christie.
Nationally, the level of housing distress in the third quarter was at its lowest level since 2007, before the 2007-2009 recession. Nationwide, 7 percent of mortgages were either in foreclosure or at least one payment past due.
New Jersey has lagged the nation in solving the foreclosure crisis because it is among about two dozen states where foreclosures go through the courts, which tends to slow the process. In addition, the state is still catching up after a near-freeze on foreclosure activity several years ago, as the mortgage industry dealt with accusations that it was abusing homeowners’ rights.