From the Record:
New Jersey’s recent good news of falling home foreclosure rates was interrupted in July, with default activity climbing higher than the national average, according to data from foreclosure information provider RealtyTrac Inc.
Home foreclosure activity rose sharply — by nearly 40 percent — last month statewide compared with a year ago, said RealtyTrac of Irvine, Calif. National foreclosure activity rose 32 percent from the same month last year.
Default filings had declined by 30 percent in the first half of the year, dropping 13 percent in June, 41 percent in May and 3.5 percent in April from those same months a year ago.
“Part of it [July’s dramatic increase] is due to a backlog in the courts, which process these documents,” said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac spokesman. “So they were able to catch up on some of the backlog in July.”
Blomquist said RealtyTrac was seeing a similar pattern in other states where foreclosures are filed through the courts, such as in New Jersey. July’s foreclosures of 6,467 homes was the highest since October 2008, he said.
Another factor in the foreclosure rate surge was that relief from the state’s Mortgage Stabilization and Relief Act was coming to an end. That provided several programs and funding to delay foreclosures for troubled homeowners in the hope that they could eventually repay their loans.
“There definitely has been a time when the numbers were looking good in New Jersey,” said Blomquist. “What that legislation did was not a long-term solution for a lot of borrowers.”
He said other states that enacted similar legislation also had temporary drops in foreclosure activity only to see it rebound in a few months.
“It [such programs] slows down recovery and keeps the foreclosure process on these homes in limbo and hanging over the market,” said Blomquist.
In New Jersey, 6,467 residences had foreclosure proceedings against them last month, or one in every 541 houses. Nationwide, 360,149 properties, one in every 355 homes, were in some phase of the foreclosure process.
From RealtyTrac courtesy of the Record:
* Foreclosure filing rates for New Jersey for July, by county:
* Bergen: 1/805 homes, ranked 18th out of 21 New Jersey counties in foreclosure rate
* Passaic: 1/384, ranked third
* Morris: 1/952, ranked 20th
* Hudson: 1/758, ranked 16th
* Essex: 1/375, ranked second
* Union: 1/326, ranked first