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New Jersey Foreclosure Filings Soared in the First Half

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By : John Cutts    99 or more times read
The pace of foreclosures in New Jersey increased in the first half of 2009, compared to foreclosures in the first half of last year, according to data issued by the New Jersey Judiciary. The number of foreclosure filings increased by over 30 percent in the first 6 months.

In the data released in July, the number of foreclosure filings indicated a decline, but later it was discovered that the courts have not yet processed documents submitted by banks as they were overwhelmed by the increase in paperwork.

Kevin Wolfe, chief of the state judiciary's civil practice division, explained that the Superior Court clerks have been overwhelmed by the volumes of foreclosure filings coming in.

The continued filing of foreclosure actions by the banks indicate that government initiatives aimed at preventing foreclosures have not been effective. With the rising unemployment rate, housing advocates worry that more homeowners will be forced out of foreclosed properties.

Seton Hall University law professor Linda Fisher remarked that the problems underlying foreclosures have not been fixed.

Nonetheless, the backlog seemed to help the owners of houses in foreclosure in some ways, giving them some extra months before they are evicted.

Jim Silkensen, chief executive officer of the New Jersey Bankers Association, explained that both owners and lenders suffer, with banks bearing the bad debts, the decline in home prices and the increased risk that the houses are damaged by irresponsible homeowners, vandals and thieves.

Court clerks have started working overtime and on Saturdays, but they are still working on papers filed last June.

In the first half, the number of foreclosure filings across New Jersey increased to 31,603 filings, a significant increase by 31.6 percent from filings in the first 6 months of 2008.

The highest increase in default or foreclosure notices occurred in Atlantic County, where filings increased by 70.5 percent. The smallest increase occurred in Hunterdon County, where filings rose by only 9.9 percent.

The federal and state governments have been undertaking programs to modify and refinance home loans to help distressed homeowners save their homes from foreclosure, but the programs were not working for many borrowers.

In New Jersey, 1,936 homeowners participated in the state mediation program since its launching date to July, but only 435 cases have been settled, with 165 solved through mediation and 65 remedied before mediation.

According to Al Faella, head of the Union County Foreclosure Task Force, homeowners who took out adjustable rate mortgages should seek help now before their rates adjust to higher rates.
John Cutts has been educated in the finer points of the foreclosure market over 5 years.

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