NJ Foreclosures Spike Again, Trend Won’t End Soon [AUDIO]
New Jersey's foreclosure numbers continue to move in the opposite direction of the national figures, according to a new report today from RealtyTrac.
In September, 180,427 U.S. properties reported foreclosure filings - default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions. That amount represented a seven percent decrease from the previous month and a 16 percent drop from September 2011. Last month's total was the lowest for the country since July 2007.
National foreclosure numbers for the third quarter, meanwhile, fell to the lowest level since the end of 2007.
"We've been seeing this downward trend, really over the past two years," explained Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "But now we've hit that milestone of actually being lower than we were in 2007 when foreclosures were just beginning to ramp up."
Despite a backlog of foreclosure delays moving ahead in several judicial states, including New Jersey, Blomquist said it's making little noise in the housing market on the national level.
The Garden State experienced its seventh straight month of year-over-year increases, as foreclosure filings jumped a massive 228% from September 2011 to September 2012. Blomquist said the state's foreclosures numbers last year were at "artificially-low levels," and the lenders are continuing to play catch-up.
Many homeowners going through the foreclosure process over the past couple of years were offered a break from the action when the federal government stepped in to address “robo-signing” foreclosure processing. Earlier this year, a $25 billion settlement was made between five mortgage lenders and 49 states, including New Jersey.
Blomquist added, "New Jersey had a much more aggressive reaction to the whole robo-signing issue."
In late 2010, the state Supreme Court issued a moratorium on foreclosure filings by six of the largest banks.
As another result of the delayed filings and the state's aggressive approach to the questionable foreclosure practices, New Jersey ranks second nationwide for average length of time to complete the foreclosure process - 931 days. New York topped the list at 1,072 days.
Blomquist noted, though, the foreclosure process has always been longer in New Jersey than most other states because each filing here becomes a court case that must be reviewed by a judge individually.
He estimated the year-over-year increases will continue until at least the middle of next year. Before these past seven months of increases, New Jersey experienced 17 straight months of year-over-year declines.
On the bright side, New Jersey's foreclosure rate (percentage of homes in the foreclosure process) remained lower than the national average, quarterly and monthly.