Housing foreclosures, mortgage delinquencies up across region
Posted January 5, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Triangle mortgage foreclosures increased in October from a year ago, and, at the same time, more homeowners fell behind on their payments, according to numbers released Thursday by real estate tracking firm CoreLogic.
The statistics come even as economists at two events in the Triangle this week forecast growth in the economy and talked about the real estate market stabilizing or hitting bottom with interest rates now under 4 percent. The CoreLogic information provides a more somber view.
In Raleigh-Cary, foreclosures rose to 1.87 percent of mortgages from a year earlier, up more than half a percentage point. At the same time, mortgage delinquencies of 90 days or more increased to 4.41 percent. A year earlier, the rate was 4.22 percent.
In Durham-Chapel Hill, foreclosures hit 1.96 percent, up from 1.26 percent in 2010. Delinquencies rose to 4.83 percent from 4.51 percent.
According to the North Carolina Association of Realtors, sales of new and existing homes did grow in November, by 10 percent from a year earlier, to 1,425. However, prices fell 9 percent, to an average cost of $218,865.
"I think that was something we were expecting to increase," said Stacey Anfindsen, president of the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors.
Anfindsen said one of the reasons for the increase was a delay in processing foreclosures while banks over the past six months reviewed their policies and protocols.
The review was partly the result of big banks' questionable foreclosure practices and also partly because of new laws and regulations aimed at helping homeowners.
Now that more of those cases are being addressed, Anfindsen said, the foreclosure numbers are on the rise.
The CoreLogic statistics also worsened elsewhere in the state.
In Fayetteville, the foreclosure rate climbed to 1.71 percent from 1.18 percent for the same month in 2010. Delinquencies grew to 4.89 percent from 4.35 percent. Sales of existing homes in November fell 21 percent from a year earlier, to 172. The average price declined 1 percent, to $125,228.
In Rocky Mount, foreclosures surged to 2.8 percent, up nearly a full point from 1.97 percent in 2010. Delinquencies did decline slightly, to 7.32 percent from 7.38 percent. Sales of existing homes fell slightly, to 46 from 48 a year earlier. The average price, however, dropped 13 percent, to $108,740.
Across North Carolina, foreclosures jumped to 2.58 percent from 1.77 percent a year earlier. The national foreclosure rate is 3.5 percent.
Overall, 5.6 percent of North Carolina homeowners were 90 days or more behind on payments, up from 5.41 percent for the same month a year earlier. The national average is 7.2 percent, down from 7.5 percent from a year earlier.
Across the state, housing sales in November increased 8 percent, but prices fell 8 percent, to an average of $192,511.
Darlette McCormick, a real estate agent with Carolina MaxRealty who volunteers with a foreclosure counseling service, said the threat of losing a home when owners fall behind on their payments can be scary.
One piece of advice that she gives homeowners is to be proactive. Doing nothing does not work, she said. The best approach for them to take is to contact their lender and seek foreclosure counseling.
"There's a lot of confusion out there," she said. "I've talked to several people who really don't know how far behind they are – people who don't know where they are in the process – and they're frustrated."