What would have been worse – stalling or foreclosing?

From the Philly Inquirer:

New Jersey still caught in foreclosure nightmare

The foreclosure nightmare that haunted U.S. homeowners during and after the Great Recession has loosened its grip considerably in most states.

In New Jersey, the bad dream just gets scarier.

Foreclosures there are 17 percent higher than they were in 2014, and bank repossessions of homes are up 18 percent, the housing-analytics firm RealtyTrac reported last week – even as the rest of the country logged the lowest foreclosure numbers in eight years.

One in every 234 homes in the state with a mortgage is in some stage of the foreclosure process – the fifth-highest rate in the nation.

New Jersey “should really be compared to where everyone else was two years ago,” said William Hall, manager of housing programs at the nonprofit credit-counseling agency Clarifi, which has an office in Cherry Hill and offered advice to 769 South Jersey homeowners in 2014.

In the first three months of this year, RealtyTrac reports, 14,524 houses were in the foreclosure pipeline in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties alone. The data show that 4,535 of those properties were vacant – “zombies” abandoned by their owners on lenders’ orders but for which the foreclosure process was never completed.

Philadelphia and its four suburban Pennsylvania counties have four times the number of homes as the three South Jersey counties but had just 12,046 foreclosures in the first quarter, RealtyTrac reports.

In the Sicklerville zip code, 08081, which spans Winslow and Gloucester Townships, RealtyTrac data show 1,088 houses are in foreclosure – more than in any other zip code in those three South Jersey counties.

Foreclosure numbers in greater Atlantic City rose 46 percent in the first quarter over the same period in 2014, meanwhile, giving it the highest foreclosure rate of any U.S. metro area over 200,000 population – one in every 113 houses.

New Jersey’s foreclosure issues push chances for a complete housing-market turnaround further out of reach, industry observers say.

“In my view, the aftermath of the crisis is still with us,” said Bruce M. Sattin, a lawyer with Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader in Lawrenceville who represents clients fighting foreclosure.

“While the number of new foreclosure cases spiked after the real estate market crashed in late 2007, there are still cases from back then in the system,” Sattin said.

How did New Jersey end up in such a mess?

New Jersey’s continued high foreclosure volume has created problems for neighbors who are up to date with their mortgages but who find out their houses are worth less than they owe, Busler said.

About 50 percent of Clarifi’s clients said they, too, were “underwater,” Hall said, and those borrowers are more likely to default.

Add job losses and lower wages to the mix, Busler said, and “all of this means that recovery in real estate will be very slow.”

This entry was posted in Economics, Foreclosures, Housing Recovery, New Jersey Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to What would have been worse – stalling or foreclosing?

  1. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  2. grim says:

    In some of these areas, I’m not so sure that stalling was such a bad idea.

  3. chicagofinance says:

    Sister-in-law bought in Moorestown in 2004…..house is still worth less than what they paid…….

  4. D-FENS says:

    @blackrepublican: Black boys dead in the streets, and our 1st BLACK #AttorneyGeneral thinks “gay rights” are the civil rights issue of this generation.#smh

  5. FKA 2010 Buyer says:

    Forthcoming study that may answer a question I have…if NJ has this backlog of homes in some stage of foreclosure, what effect will it have on the housing market? Interesting that they choose to look at the “prime conforming” market, which in theory would exclude a lot of speculative areas. A 6% drop in home prices isn’t that bad.

    The Link Between Foreclosures and House Prices

    Rising foreclosures will not cause U.S. home values to plunge, despite widespread concerns to the contrary. That’s the conclusion of a new and first-of-its-kind study, The Foreclosure-House Price Nexus: Lessons from the 2007-2008 Housing Turmoil (forthcoming as an NBER Working Paper) by Charles Calomiris, Stanley Longhofer, and William Miles. Although the authors recognize that other factors not captured by their analysis could weigh on home prices, the effects of foreclosure shocks – which promise to grow over the next several months, and which have been a source of worry to homeowners and economists – seem to be smaller than many have feared. Even under their most extreme scenario, in which foreclosure rates would substantially exceed current forecasts, the resulting average drop in home prices between the national peak in the second quarter of 2007 and the fourth quarter of 2009 would be less than 6 percent.

    The authors emphasize that house-price declines vary across states and argue that headlines pointing to extreme circumstances in a few states can be misleading about the United States as a whole. Despite increased foreclosure rates throughout the country, only 12 states are projected to see foreclosure-induced price declines of 6 percent or more through 2009, led by Nevada, Florida, California, and Arizona. “This suggests that home prices are quite sticky, and that fears of a major fall in house prices, with all of its attendant negative macroeconomic consequences, typically are not warranted even in extreme foreclosure circumstances,” they write.


  6. FKA 2010 Buyer says:

    Brace Yourself for Flood of Foreclosures When Boom-Era HELOCs Turn 10

    NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Millions of Americans will soon see monthly bills shoot up on home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) taken out during the housing boom, because HELOCs are going to start making homeowners pay both interest and principal, not just interest. That’s bad news because many consumers are already underwater, meaning they owe more than their places are worth, a RealtyTrac study shows.

    “A lot of people were using their homes as ATMs during the bubble, and that — coupled with the fact that home values have since gone down — has backed a lot of them into a corner,” says Daren Blomquist of RealtyTrac, which recently analyzed home equity lines of credit on millions of properties.


  7. Fast Eddie says:

    Add job losses and lower wages to the mix, Busler said, and “all of this means that recovery in real estate will be very slow.”

    Not here in North Jersey. We’re insulated. The highest property taxes in the nation won’t deter the sale of the $629,000 split level.

  8. Essex says:

    Eddie- seeing a lot of what you said in the places we visit. Amazing to visit a place and realize they are $100k to high on the ask.

    Thanks anyway. But I cannot be your retirement / bailout fund.

  9. Essex says:

    Make that “too” high. Sellers are too damn high.

  10. Fast Eddie says:

    By the way, I went to see an open house in Cedar Grove this past weekend because I really had nothing better to do for about three hours. Every goomba and wannabe goomba from New Yawk pulled up in their Escalades and BMWs because it seems those towns on the fringe attract them the most. It was just a few years ago when the New Yawkers would never consider Jersey. Little do they know that Jersey is becoming a third world cess pool as quickly as their old neighborhood.

  11. Fast Eddie says:


    Eddie- seeing a lot of what you said in the places we visit. Amazing to visit a place and realize they are $100k to high on the ask.

    Amazing, isn’t it? And these assh0les think we’re going to bail them out? We wrote the final chapter. The house I’m in now is the last one at least until retirement.

  12. grim says:

    7 – Much ado about nothing.

  13. [2] grim – of course stalling is the best idea.


    1. Don’t have to recognize the loss.
    2. Not responsible for the maintenance or taxes.
    3. Have house sitters living rent-free that don’t cut out their copper pipes and sell them to pay for a UHaul trailer.
    4. Avoid tanking the markets where they are the de facto majority property holders.

    In some of these areas, I’m not so sure that stalling was such a bad idea.

  14. Essex says:

    I think we have a purchase in our future – but not sure if we want to ascend to the heights demanded of those who aspire to comfort and ease of suburban living.

  15. Essex says:

    $800k is the new $500k – hey money’s never been cheaper!! Jump on in! The waters great.

  16. They may be looking to sell their “very much in the black”(the good kind) Brooklyn homes. What they don’t know is that they are swimming upstream. The smart money is moving into the city, young and old alike (just not middle).

    It was just a few years ago when the New Yawkers would never consider Jersey. Little do they know that Jersey is becoming a third world cess pool as quickly as their old neighborhood.

  17. Anon E. Moose says:

    Eddie [8];

    I was right there in the trenches with you shoulder-to-shoulder for 7 long years, brother (2005-2012). All I can say now is that a nearly identical comp for my 2012 purchase went for 10% higher last fall… Just two weeks ago I played poker with the seller’s broker for another listing up the street — they got a full price offer first day on the market. I don’t even know what the ask price was… I didn’t think to ask and just figured I’d see it online. Now I may have to ask if I don’t want to wait until the papers are recorded after closing; I’m not even sure the property ever made it onto the MLS. I pass that house every day, and the first time I saw a sign on the lawn, it had an “Under Contract” plaque on it.

    Another house I used as a neighborhood comp was a bubble buy that ended up as a rental for a couple of years, now listed for 36% higher than my closing price. I know asking isn’t getting, but if their buyer gets the same percentage discount off ask that I did, that comps my property at 28% increase.

  18. njescapee says:

    Thinking about making our Key West home a seasonal rental starting next year to cover the cost of HOA, insurance and taxes etc and maybe make a few bucks. Much better to enjoy the Keys in the warmer / less crowded months.

  19. Meanwhile in Boston, the prices look overheated to me, easily at new all-time highs. Zillow says prices are up over 7.6% in the last year and expected to rise 4.6% within the next year. I stopped at the open house of an acquaintance yesterday, he’s been renting himself in Vermont while renting out the place he bought way too high at the top of the market circa 2006. The rents have risen high enough that it’s now paying the mortgage but he doesn’t want to be a landlord. He couldn’t get $378K last year so this year he listed at $398K and has offers. That’s for 900 square feet, 2BR, 1 bath.


  20. Anon E. Moose says:

    Con’t [18];

    The one acknowledged to Grim while I was looking; I can’t argue with a sale (or lack thereof). If the place sold for more than my offer, I was by definition wrong about the price. On the other hand, if the place lingers after my offer was rejected, eventually selling at or below my offer price, then I was right.

    Oddly enough, being “right” has little to do with getting the property I wanted at the price I wanted. No Kewpie Doll for Moose. :-/

  21. grim says:

    19 – Let me know if you do.

  22. Xolepa says:

    (20) I guess my son and DIL were lucky to get something half decent in Quincy. They closed on a 1500sqft SF in the low 4s. Seller negotiated on price but not on anything else after that. It seems also that insurance companies up there are on edge due to ice dam issues and are requiring roofs to be in up to date condition prior to binding policies.

  23. Xolepa says:

    It also seems that contractors are about to cleanup big time now, being all the winter damage is becoming known. Still 20 foot high mounds of snow in parking lots, as of last week.

  24. ccb223 says:

    I love Key West…awesome there. On a mainly unrelated note, new Netflix show Bloodline that takes place in the Keys is great, highly recommend.

  25. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [23] Xolepa – Quincy is a nice, safe town. Chinese from Chinatown aspire to live there and also a lot of cops live in Quincy. We lived in two different places there from 1998-2002 (Wollaston, after that a Marina condo). No problems in all our years there. I think it used to be kind of blue collar and hardscrabble way back when before they cleaned up the bay. We still take the kids to Quincy for Flag Day weekend. Quincy has a parade and fireworks on Flag Day in June instead of fireworks in July.

  26. leftwing says:

    It’s what happens when arrogant sociopaths with guns and badges believe they are above the law they swore to uphold.

    More power to these people. Black, yellow, white, red, or whatever. I hope that fat a$$ spittle spewing Task Force slob that harassed the cabbie is pushing a mop. Ditto the special agent that took the woman’s phone taping him and smashed it. And I hope they have a good ole time for 20 to life with the coward that shoots someone in the back.

    Keep taping. Take their jobs and pensions. Unemployed cop for cause won’t find a job changing oil.

  27. Anon E. Moose says:

    Yahoo Headline: Riot erupts after funeral for man hurt in police custody

    “Funeral for man hurt in police custody” — was he not still in police custody when he died? Since the story is about his funeral, one might think the relationship between the injuries he suffered in police custody and his death should be a little more explicit than the headline allows. F-ing idiot news media.

  28. Anon E. Moose says:

    Oh, and the yahoo cover picture shows a guy standing in front of a burning police cars holding a 12-pack of toilet paper.

    For real.

  29. Grim says:

    12 pack of Charmin? Dude must be a one percenter to not care about burning TP.

  30. chicagofinance says:

    Drove past the new Subaru HQ in Cherry Hill yesterday…..I don’t know exactly where it was previously, but it damned sure makes sense to be in a safe area with easy access to 295 & NJTP now, and a ton of services…..if anything, it made the place even more NJ-centric so that PA ties slowly are eroded……easy shot to NJ & DE…as well as Philly obviously……just for daily commuters from PA, it adds…..

  31. D-FENS says:

    Group of out of control teens battle with police in the Bronx.


  32. Grim says:

    Long hot summer

  33. Wily Millenial says:

    I took a walk around Madison for an hour and guessed all the prices on my phone. I have no personal interest in living in Madison. I massively underestimated every price. $700K houses going for $1.5M imo.

    Admittedly I stayed in nice neighborhoods. Seems like there’s a new 2M house going up on every third lot. All 6000 sq ft and 6′ from the house next door. And minimal sidewalks… which is weird now that the street is now built up to roughly the density of Queens.

  34. leftwing says:

    28. Thought the diesel article may be interesting until I explored the website and came upon the slovenian unicorn and diphallia dude – warning, seriously NSFW. What the heck are you reading.

  35. Essex says:

    WWJD…what would jimi do?

  36. njescapee says:

    Pour something tall and strong maybe a hurricane fore I go insane

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