Thursday, January 25, 2007

Michigan Has Foreclosure Misery Company

Readers are increasingly turning to the Web for their news and abandoning print media. I can't speak for everyone else, but I read my news online because 75% of the time an article will leave me with unanswered questions and I end up searching the internet for answers. For example, this was a lead story in today's Freep:
Home foreclosure filings surged to record levels across metro Detroit in 2006, adding to the misery of a region already suffering the effects of a sagging job market, plant closures and layoffs. [...]

It's the repercussions of a bad economy -- and in stark contrast to other parts of the country that are growing," said Dana Johnson, chief economist for Comerica Bank in Ann Arbor. "It's unfortunate, but it's not surprising."
Ouch! Are we really alone in our single-state misery as the article implied? I did a quick search and soon found that Michigan has lots of company in foreclosure misery. From Yahoo [emphasis added]:
[T]he leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today released year-end data from its 2006 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows more than 1.2 million foreclosure filings were reported nationwide during the year, up 42 percent from 2005 and a foreclosure rate of one foreclosure filing for every 92 U.S. households. [...]

Colorado documented the nation's highest state foreclosure rate for the year, one foreclosure filing for every 33 households... an 85 percent increase from 2005 and the eighth highest total among all the states.

Georgia and Nevada both reported one foreclosure filing for every 41 households in 2006, but Georgia edged out Nevada with a slightly higher percentage of households in foreclosure... Georgia reported a total of 75,975 foreclosure filings during the year, the sixth most of any state and a 67 percent year-over-year increase. Nevada foreclosures surged in fourth quarter, pushing the state's total for the year to 21,045 -- nearly three times the number reported in 2005.

Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation's 10 highest included Texas, Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Ohio, Utah and Tennessee.

Texas reported 156,876 foreclosure filings for the year, the most of any state and nearly 13 percent of the national total. The state consistently reported big foreclosure numbers throughout 2006... -- giving the state the nation's fourth highest state foreclosure rate.

Rising foreclosure activity in the fourth quarter pushed California's 2006 foreclosure total to second highest among the states. The state reported 142,429 foreclosure filings during the year, more than twice the number reported in 2005 and accounting for more than 11 percent of the national total. [...]

Florida foreclosure activity remained relatively flat in 2006, up just 2 percent from 2005, but the state's foreclosure total still placed third highest among all the states. [...]

Other states with 2006 foreclosure totals among the nation's 10 highest included Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Colorado, New York and Indiana.

Detroit, Atlanta, Indianapolis report highest metro foreclosure rates

With an average of more than 10,000 foreclosure filings in each quarter, Detroit documented the highest annual foreclosure rate among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas. Foreclosure filings in the city represented 4.9 percent of all households -- or one foreclosure filing for every 21 households. The city's foreclosure rate was 4.5 times the national average.

Atlanta's 2006 foreclosure total of 63,737 represented 4.4 percent of the city's households -- second highest among the top 100 MSAs and more than four times the national average. [...]

Indianapolis foreclosures decreased in the second, third and fourth quarters, but the city still documented the nation's third highest metro foreclosure rate -- with total foreclosure filings representing 4.3 percent of all households.

Other cities with foreclosure rates among the nation's 10 highest were Denver, Dallas, Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Memphis, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
All of that information came from one article, but there were plenty more to choose from:
Foreclosures climbed a whopping 64.6 percent in the nation's Northeast in 2006, fueled by a fourth-quarter filings scramble in metropolitan areas of New York and Boston, and across northern New Jersey.

Colorado had more foreclosure filings per household in 2006 than any other state, RealtyTrac, a California provider of foreclosure data, will report today.

Foreclosures in Fresno County more than quadrupled in the fourth quarter from last year... Statewide, the number of default notices — the first step in the foreclosure process — climbed a whopping 145% in the fourth quarter of 2006 from a year earlier to the highest level in eight years, according to DataQuick Information Systems, a real estate tracking service.

Mississippi ranks low nationally in foreclosures, but homeowners unable to pay their mortgages are on the rise. ... Mississippi foreclosure rates increased about 50 percent from the previous month and 130 percent from the previous year.

Mortgage defaults in California more than doubled on an annual basis in the last quarter of 2006.

"It's the economy, stupid." James Carville's famous slogan from the 1992 presidential election also explains why Kentucky's mortgage foreclosure rate is the fifth highest in the nation, economists and mortgage bankers say.

From the Cincinnati area: While Swain's circumstances are especially dire, similar foreclosure notices were tacked to the front doors of more than 10,000 homeowners in almost every neighborhood of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky last year. For the seventh straight year, foreclosure filings hit record highs not only here but in all of Ohio and Kentucky.

Florida chimes in: Foreclosures put added burden on association-run communities..."We're seeing a 100 percent increase in the number of files turned over to us [by associations] for lien and foreclosure," said Gary Poliakoff, whose Fort Lauderdale-based law firm, Becker & Poliakoff, represents 4,200 associations in Florida.
As long as newspapers continue to do only half their job, I'll continue to read my news online where it's more convenient to search for the rest of the story.


mensch71 said...

Amen! And what the news stories don't point out is that most of those in foreclosure are there as the result of ARMs (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) that they obtained with a teaser rate that allowed them to purchase a house much more expensive than they can afford.

What the articles also don't mention is that foreclosure laws vary from state to state and even from county to county. In Pennsylvania, houses are supposed to go to a Sherrif's sale after a year of delinquency. In other places (Nevada comes to mind), people are booted after 120 days.

So what can we do to reduce foreclosures here in the Mitten?

* MANDATORY pre-purchase through a HUD approved housing counseling agency for mortgagees, private or public.

* STRICT ENFORCEMENT on the subprime lenders that prey upon minorities and first time homebuyers.

* LEGISLATE the abolition of ARMs and other teaser rates for mortgages as well as loans that are more than 100% LTV.

I could go on for days... but the most important thing people can do if they get behind on their mortgage payment is contact a HUD approved housing counseling IMMEDIATELY. They can help work something out up to 90 days delinquent but after that... the home is likely lost.

Sorry for the rant but this is my industry and I feel strongly. Thanks for the great article!

Kathy said...

Mensch, thanks for the valuable information. I agree with all of your points, but especially the strict enforcement of subprime lenders that prey upon minorities and first time homebuyers.

I'd also like realtors to be held to some type of guidelines. I've personally experienced realtors who tried to push my husband and I into buying a bigger house simply because we qualified for a larger loan. They actually looked at us like we were crazy because we didn't want a huge, expensive house.

We also financed our last house with a 15 year mortgage simply because we're middle-aged and wanted to get it paid off before we retire. The lender tried to talk us out of that idea and push us into a 30 year mortgage. The reasoning was that we could take the money we save each month and save it. Although that's true, we simply wanted to pay down that mortgage instead of paying all that interest.

Your advice to contact a HUD counselor if a person is behind on their mortgage is great advice for the person who truly wants to hold onto their house. Unfortunately, there are some dishonest people out there too. We had a neighbor who intentionally stopped paying his mortgage payment for months and months. During this time, he sold everything he possibly could from his house - including the electric wall sockets from the walls and the tub surrounds and vanities from the bathrooms. He pocketed the money and moved out west where his wife got a signing bonus to work as a nurse in a hospital. The bank finally took the house back, but it will take a lot of money and work to make it liveable again.

Anyway, I'm the one doing the ranting now! Sorry about that, but it just makes me crazy how everyone is taking advantage of everyone in this country anymore.

bank foreclosures said...

Looks like its only going to get better.

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