The Foreclosure State

From NJ Spotlight:

New Jersey Still Bogged Down in Foreclosures While Rest of Country Recovering

Housing markets have improved and foreclosure numbers dropped across the country since the Great Recession, but a decade on, New Jersey remains mired in a deep foreclosure swamp.

Statewide figures are significantly better than in 2009, the depth of the economic downturn. Yet some analyses cite Atlantic City as the worst housing market in the country, with Trenton not far behind. Overall, New Jersey continues to have the highest foreclosure rate in the country, according to real-estate data firms.

While many factors contribute to the problem, housing advocates point to a lack of leadership from state government as significant. Gov. Chris Christie, who used $75 million from national foreclosure-prevention aid to plug a budget gap in 2012, seldom mentions the issue.

“In the other states where we work, we have governors who have welcomed us and networked us to their housing agencies and counselors,” said a relative newcomer to the state scene, Jessica Brooks, a vice president at Boston Community Capital.

Nonprofit housing organizations like BCC work with lenders and borrowers to prevent foreclosures. Some for-profit groups also have sprung up, like Community Champions of Melbourne, Florida to fight the effects of foreclosure blight. But as the major federal foreclosure relief ends, a lack of state leadership in New Jersey means municipalities must find such partners themselves. Meanwhile, borrowers must remain alert to police their own mortgages, according to a top foreclosure defense lawyer.

Some other nonprofit groups, notably New Jersey Community Capital of New Brunswick and Newark, have bought troubled mortgages directly from federal agencies. BCC works differently, negotiating with banks to get better terms for borrowers whose job situation has improved but whose mortgages are still onerous.

“In New Jersey, no one from the state stepped up… and many of the community-based housing counselors here are struggling just to keep the lights on,” Brooks said.

Nationwide, foreclosures dropped under 1 million in 2016, the lowest figure in 10 years, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, formerly RealtyTrac, of Irvine, California. Yet that firm found New Jersey has the highest rate in the nation. And in December, when foreclosure starts were dropping 17 percent nationwide, they rose 13 percent here as the state’s economy continued to flounder, the firm found.

New Jersey has the highest inventory of homes in foreclosure at 2.8 percent, according to CoreLogic, another Irvine, California, real-estate analytics firm. That is greatly improved since the recession, but New York is the only other state above 2 percent, the firm reported.

New Jersey’s underlying economics are weak. While the U.S. Census Bureau found median household incomes rose 5.2 percent in 2015, the last year for which complete data are available, New Jersey was treading water with a 0.3 percent gain.

Home prices rose 7.1 percent nationally from November 2016 to November 2017 — or 4.7 percent when weighted for owner-occupied units as opposed to those being acquired by real-estate investors — but just 1.7 percent in New Jersey, according to CoreLogic.

Just like the other numbers, New Jersey’s trend in new foreclosure cases offers a mix of good news and bad. Fewer than 35,000 new cases were posted in the state courts’ public access system last year, half the amount of 2009 in the depths of the Great Recession. But that remains well above the 20,253 filed in 2005, itself on the high end historically.

That continued stream of new foreclosures, plus the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy, provided reason for BCC to expand its efforts to New Jersey, according to Brooks. While the organization’s SUN program is “a drop in the bucket” compared to the problem, it provides a template of what can be done if lenders and borrowers work together on mortgages that are “underwater,” meaning they cost consumers more than the house’s current value, she said.

Throughout the foreclosure crisis, New Jersey consistently has had a high rate of troubled home loans, even as many borrowers got back on their feet financially after layoffs or business losses, Brooks noted. But the lack of state attention to the issue has contributed to low interest here in SUN, which currently is working with only about 60 New Jersey families, she said.

“New Jersey is the hardest place for us to work, and I feel it’s because there isn’t one state (leader) but many locally driven efforts,” Brooks said.

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43 Responses to The Foreclosure State

  1. D-FENS says:

    Foreclosures = legal ad revenue

    Christie said a review of legal notices by his administration showed The Star-Ledger newspaper received $16.6 million from legal ads in 2016 — a figure he said repudiates the New Jersey Press Association, which said all newspapers made $20 million from the legal ads based off of a study it conducted in 2010.

  2. Fast Eddie says:


    Thank you, President Trump!

  3. Fast Eddie says:

    “New Jersey is the hardest place for us to work, and I feel it’s because there isn’t one state (leader) but many locally driven efforts,” Brooks said.

    500 plus municipalities, all acting in their own best interests.

  4. homeboken says:

    Real Estate Question Alert!!

    Anyone know how often property taxes are revaled in Randolph? Moose you have any insight? Im looking at a home and the potential purchase price is going to be about 20% less than assessed value, does this have any impact or carry any weight when going in for appeal? Thanks in advance all.

  5. Comrade Nom Deplume, Who doesn't care when you got your bottle. says:

    Now I understand why all the leftists are so upset.

  6. grim says:

    What I don’t understand about Trump’s foreign policy is, I would suspect there is significantly more benefit for the US if Mexico becomes an even more significant trade partner at the expense of China, than if trade is similarly reduced (on a year over year) basis across both trade partnerships. I would imagine it would be beneficial for the Americas economy, including Central and South America, to become major economic players.

  7. Old enough to remember the NWO says:

    Queu Ministry’s New World Order song.

    Long memory. What everyone forgets was that apart from the Corporate side pushing for all these free trade deals, there was an “idealistic” feel to it when first proposed. Perot was the one cynical enough to see through it.

    The whole point of NAFTA was to move a significant % of Mexican’s into middle class. It did not happened because of the “catholic/latin curse”. The oligarchs made sure (looking at you Carlos Slim) they made out with the loot and screw the population.

    The whole point of China into WTO is that they would transition like South Korea from dictatorship to elected democracy, albeit with a strong authoritarian bent, but a democracy none the less. It did not happened, the CPC is stronger, wealtheir, and more authoritarian than ever.

    So we made ourselves poorer hoping to change the world for the better. All we did is get screwed. That is why Trump is very, very correct. Pull in the carpet, put up the walls and lets take care of ourselves.

  8. jcer says:

    Yes trump is confused, a vibrant Mexican economy is good for the US. Fewer economic migrants, a new market to sell goods as Mexicans rise to the middle class and reduction in pollution due to the reduced distance required for goods. Where Trump is right is that Mexican manufacturing tends to be large items that were made in the US not stupid trinkets. US manufacturing can succeed in manufacturing high value items and things where production can be highly automated. Many other things requiring cheap labor will be made overseas, I’d rather that be Mexico than China who is in actuality our enemy and has designs on being a geopolitical player in our sphere of influence.

  9. Tywin says:

    The choice isn’t Mexico or China, but USA. The country existed just fine when we actually manufactured our own products. We have spent decades exporting our manufacturing, technological innovations, and most importantly but harder to track, our intellectual processes: how to conduct business, how to design a microchip, how to build an airliner, how to optimize manufacturing logistics, how to build software, etc, etc, etc, etc, all given away for free.

  10. Tywin says:

    The “mainstream” media remains in full spin and denial mode regarding the “false” claims that illegals vote in US elections:

    “the number of non-citizen voters (including both uncertainty based on normally distributed sampling error, and the various combinations of verified and reported voting) could range from just over 38,000 at the very minimum to nearly 2.8 million at the maximum.”

    “In addition, the analysis suggests that non-citizens’ votes have changed signicant election outcomes including the assignment of North Carolina’s 2008 electoral votes, and the pivotal Minnesota Senate victory of Democrat Al Franken in 2008.”

  11. STEAMturd, reminiscing about Cankles says:

    I agree with you, as normal, Grim. We probably benefit more from the free flow of immigrant labor from Mexico than they benefit from us allowing them in. Mexican’s are incredibly hard workers and they are willing to work for beans. These are not high-tech jobs they are working. Heck, look outside Home Depot. All Mexican laborers willing to do the crap our kids are too soft to do and for so little. IMO, Trump is only building the supposed wall to fulfill his campaign promise. It will mostly be symbolic of course. And he’ll lie when he says the Mexicans paid for it. In about a week, I expect him to say something along the lines that they paid for it by the US not having to pay for Mexican illegals’ healthcare. I give it a week before we here this. If the wall does work (which it won’t). You can expect all produce to become prohibitively expensive to the point where the farmers will demand subsidies (more).

  12. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    I think the Dems are scared sh1tless of Trump opening up voter registration investigations in California. Perhaps very HIGH numbers of illegals voting for a very long time, but the whole corrupt shebang has been flying under the radar because its only state and local elections that are affected?

  13. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    The labor component on a head of lettuce is a nickel, so one more nickel is the difference between paying a legal worker twice as much. This will cut yugely into the farmer’s cut, so the subsidy point is valid, but the consumer shouldn’t see a large price jump, but I wouldn’t put it past the food conglomerates to hike prices to prices approaching exorbitant if they thought they could get away with it.

    You can expect all produce to become prohibitively expensive to the point where the farmers will demand subsidies (more).

  14. Tywin says:

    So American carpenters and handymen are not impacted by these illegals? My neighbor just re-did his roof, a $27,000 job. Not a single worker spoke English. Twenty years ago those would have been Americans working.

    “Heck, look outside Home Depot. All Mexican laborers willing to do the crap our kids are too soft to do and for so little.”

  15. jcer says:

    ExPat, the migrant labor is more important for certain crops, that are not as mechanized or efficient, some fruits, etc. I really sincerely hope all of Trumps rhetoric is just that, we need quality jobs and opportunities for the american middle class. Creating plastering work, farm hand work, etc isn’t going to cut it, those aren’t the jobs people are looking for, we already have very low unemployment and most people aren’t having issues finding 10-12 dollar per hour jobs. It is the job that allows a person to afford decent housing, have a family and be middle class that is elusive in the recovery, which in most parts of the country is the $20-$30 per hour job, here it is more. Your average Mexican immigrant lives a much lower quality of life than an American ever would. My only thoughts are cut out any kind of aid to illegal immigrants, and deport any criminals or those involved in any criminal acts, crack down on employers hiring illegals and save all that wall money. Hire some more border guards and use surveillance drones.

  16. jcer says:

    Cracking down on illegals will hurt small businesses who depend on the lower cost labor to make a profit, replacing the workers with Americans will only compress the profit margins as realistically increasing prices will reduce demand for products and services.

  17. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    Cracking down on illegals will hurt small businesses who depend on illegals.

    BTW, you can substitute heroin, child p0rn, or stolen goods for illegals in the previous sentence.

  18. Yome says:

    Mexico will pay for the Wall by paying tariff on Remittances. Mexicans in US sends over $4B annually. If this Wall don’t have holes that they can hand money on the other side and Mexicans travelling back to Mexico are checked at the border on how much they can carry, this might just work

  19. yome says:

    WTO was created on a goal of ending World Poverty. 30 years ago Millions of Chinese on bicycles almost nothing to eat. Today they threaten us.

  20. Bystander says:

    Do we even discuss the impacts on tourism? Would have to own property or timeshare in Cabo, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta or anywhere else in Mexico. Lets face it, probably millions of Americans do. I would not feel safe bringing family down there during this wall build and beyond. Without tourism, Mexico’s economy is toast and there will violence toward traveling Americans. Mark it down.

  21. Bystander says:

    Who wants to own a property, I meant.

  22. Essex says:

    OK let’s give this whole Fortress America thing a try.

  23. 3b says:

    Fast: towns should be forced to regionalize. For instance River Edge and Oradell. And Westwood and Washington Township. But it won’t happen.

  24. 3b says:

    We are going to Mexico on Saturday for a long weekend. Wish the wall thing happened after our trip.

  25. Comrade Nom Deplume, a.k.a. Captain America says:


    “I would not feel safe bringing family down there during this wall build and beyond. Without tourism, Mexico’s economy is toast and there will violence toward traveling Americans. Mark it down.”

    Precisely why I told the wife that I wasn’t happy with her suggestion of Mexico for spring break vacation for my 7 and 13 YO girls.

  26. Steamturd, Hate Trumps Cankles says:

    Why don’t we just tax the mules?

  27. Steamturd, Hate Trumps Cankles says:

    When in Mexico, just wear a shirt that says, “estoy con ella!”

  28. 3b says:

    Maybe I can pass for Canadian!

  29. Essex says:

    Relying on illegals to do any job of substance is a crap shoot.

  30. Steamturd, Hate Trumps Cankles says:

    Tell that to all those politicians who have illegal nannies raising their offspring.

  31. Essex says:

    Just politicians? I dunno. I think we all have benefit from that lower echelon of assistance, but for us it was very short lived. Once we discovered how second-rate and potentially dangerous that type of thing is we went with a high caliber of employee.

  32. Essex says:

    I am talking about hiring someone to watch your kid who herself might have a few kids and who has her face glued to her phone instead of paying attention to the child, I have seen it over and over again. Yeeeesh.

  33. Steamturd, Hate Trumps Cankles says:

    I see it ALL the time too. It’s why we don’t have a nanny when we could really use one. I’m in the middle of Nannyland here in Montclair/Glen Ridge and I haven’t witnessed any I thought were good. The Brookdale Park playground is ground zero for this. Especially on half days.

  34. Fast Eddie says:


    These towns will never regionalize. Would you give a 130K base salary as the assistant deputy to the assistant secretary deputy’s assistant?

  35. Fast Eddie says:

    give up

  36. 3b says:

    Fast: that’s only part of it. It’s also some towns have large garden apartment complexes that were primarily utilized by the elderly singles or young married couples starting out. Many of them are now predominantly immigrant families with children. The towns without these large garden apartment complexes don’t want to regionalize with the town next door that have them.

  37. Essex says:

    Having a kid is mucho $$$ — best to the little one…(s) STU!

  38. yome says:

    Trump will tax Mexican Imports 20%

  39. Ben says:

    I can’t wait to see the price of “mexican coke” in the city after Trump slaps a tariff on Mexico.

  40. yome says:

    White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday that the plan had been discussed with congressional Republican leaders and is part of a broader tax reform effort. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told NBC News the 20 percent tax on Mexican imports is one of a “buffet of options”, sentiments Spicer also echoed.

    “When you look at the plan that’s taking shape now, using comprehensive tax reform as a means to tax imports from countries that we have a trade deficit from, like Mexico,” Spicer told reporters. “If you tax that $50 billion at 20 percent of imports — which is by the way a practice that 160 other countries do — right now our country’s policy is to tax exports and let imports flow freely in, which is ridiculous. By doing that we can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall just through that mechanism alone. That’s really going to provide the funding.”

  41. Ben says:

    What I don’t get is that the only tax increase that the left ever seems opposed to is a tax on other countries?

  42. relo says:

    Turd 2:46 – Seemed to work out well for California’s former Govinator.

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