From the Press of Atlantic City:
The long-expected second wave of foreclosures in states where courts delayed their processing appears to have begun in New Jersey and area counties, with filings jumping in the second quarter from a year ago.
Foreclosure filings in Atlantic County were up 80 percent from the second quarter last year. Increases were seen of 33 percent in Cape May County, 53 percent in Ocean County and 66 percent in the state overall, according to RealtyTrac.
New Jersey is among 22 states that make foreclosure a judicial process, and from 2010 to fall 2011, foreclosures were largely halted by the courts in response to reports of processing irregularities in this and other states.
Rick Cammarano, 55, a broker-associate with Century 21 Alliance in Wildwood Crest who handles a lot of foreclosures and other distressed properties, said the push to a new peak in foreclosures is just starting.
“I’m doing a lot of bank inspections for preforeclosures and short sales, 25 to 35 a week. That’s probably double last year at this time,” Cammarano said.
Such inspections indicate the number of people behind on their mortgage payments or headed for the foreclosure market in the next six months, he said.
“The foreclosure inventory is starting to increase a little bit. We’re expecting a wave of foreclosures within the next six months, once the banks start to let loose the backlog they have,” Cammarano said.
Cammarano and many others in the real estate industry believe that working through the inventory of distressed homes is the key to returning to a normal housing market.
“We have to go through this foreclosure market and once that happens, you’ll see the home market come back,” he said.
Richard J. Shaffer III, broker/owner of Resorts Ltd. agency in Egg Harbor Township and past president of the Atlantic City & County Board of Realtors, said it would be better to get the backlog of foreclosed properties into the market and get them sold.
“We will not see any substantial housing price increases until we can greatly reduce the inventory of these bank-owned properties,” Shaffer said.
At times during the housing slump, distressed-property sales have accounted for more than 40 percent of overall home sales, putting tremendous downward pressure on home prices. That may happen again as foreclosures head for a second peak, probably next year.
“It will definitely put more pressure on prices,” said Gregory Laubert, an agent with ReMax Atlantic. “I don’t look at it as a positive, unless you’re a buyer. If you’re a seller, it’s a negative.”