From the Pocono Record:
Monroe County’s record-high 2007 home foreclosure rate may not be a surprise to informed observers, but it still can shock the senses.
There were 1,253 foreclosure filings with the county Prothonotary’s Office, according to final figures released by Prothonotary George Warden. The previous all-time high, set in 2003, was 941.
The Prothonotary’s Office passed the 1,000 mark for the year by early November.
The figures represent the number of home-loan default cases filed with the county to try to force buyers out of their homes. This doesn’t include local foreclosure filings in federal district court.
Monroe County, which has a population of about 165,000, already had one of the highest home foreclosure rates in the state earlier this decade.
Many have linked the foreclosures to abusive sales practices that trapped buyers in bad deals. Allegations include inflating appraisals to value and sell homes for more than they are worth in the local market, falsification of sales documents, undisclosed second mortgages hidden from buyers and the primary lenders, and onerous loan terms such as balloon payments and prepayment penalities if buyers try to refinance to a lower interest rate.
Others contend that local foreclosures are caused by personal factors, from consumers living beyond their means to homes being lost in messy divorces. They also point to the financial and emotional costs of long-distance commuting to New York and New Jersey jobs as a contributor.