Morris County not immune to slump

From the Daily Record:

Morris hasn’t escaped crunch of foreclosures

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office reports that the number of houses put up for auction within the first two months of this year was 40 percent higher over the same period last year. And houses placed on the sheriff’s list are much more likely to be sold at auction this year than they were last year at the same time, with fewer homeowners able to get their homes off that list.

And while Morris County foreclosure filings increased at a slower rate than the state average, according to state court statistics, they have been going up dramatically within the past two years after remaining stable for a decade:

• There were 1,146 foreclosure filings in Morris last year, up 36 percent from the previous year, 69 percent from 2005, and 89 percent from 1997.

• Within the first two months of this year, 74 homes were scheduled to be auctioned at a Morris County sheriff’s sale compared with 53 homes within the first two months of 2007. Last year, 21 homes were sold over that time and 31 homes came off the list. This year, 39 homes were sold and 16 came off the list.

Housing counselors here, as elsewhere, report that they began getting calls from homeowners having trouble keeping up with their mortgages last summer, and that the volume became larger in December. They report hearing many of the same stories — buyers receiving mortgages too large for their incomes, often with no money down and with adjustable rates that kept going up and left them unable to make payments.

Maria Jacome, director of ACORN Housing in Newark, which counsels low- to moderate-income homebuyers across the state, said most of her clients with mortgage problems are from Essex and Hudson counties. But 10 percent of her clients come from affluent Morris County. Some housing experts say middle- and upper-income families sometimes are more likely to get bad deals on mortgages because low-income families often participate in workshops sponsored by affordable-housing groups.

The National Association of Realtors reports that the median sales price of Morris homes for the fourth quarter of 2007 was $470,300. That’s an 8.7 percent decrease from the $515,300 median at the end of the previous year. Hudson was the only county reporting a steeper decline when comparing those periods.

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6 Responses to Morris County not immune to slump

  1. Essex says:

    I rented in Morris Co. for 4 years….and liked it there…very quiet place. But really in the middle of nowhere and I believe one of the first places where once we started looking we just could not see spending $650k on the stuff we saw there. So in essence Morris has been overpriced for years.

  2. bairen says:

    So much for Charlotte’s 2% YOY increase.

    This builder has an UNlimited time sale and has rolled back prices to around the beginning of 2006.

    Like I’ve been saying, the prices may be up 2%, but the builder is kicking in 10 to 12% in incentives, so the prices are really down 10%.

  3. Rich In NNJ says:


    What is the skinny on NJMLS# 2811508?

    I was going to check it out today but our little one wasn’t cooperating.

    Only problem I see is it’s a pretty busy road.
    (On a personal note I’d like to see a fireplace and garage too)

    I did manage to see 2808621.
    The couple did a few quirky things but mostly with paint.

  4. IVV says:

    I like the article’s “Don’t get a mortgage greater than 3 1/2 times annual gross income.”

    They say it’s cheaper to rent than to own around here, but is it really true? What does $3000 in rent get you? $3000 in owner’s costs?

  5. Hobokenite says:

    bairen Says:
    March 30th, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    So much for Charlotte’s 2% YOY increase.

    I believe Charlotte has been down for the last 5 months, even if they are up a bit YoY.

  6. thatBIGwindow says:

    I have friends my age who bought a 500k home in a prestigious Morris County development. I do not know how they do it…

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