North Carolina to break foreclosure record this month, report says
Months into a sluggish economic recovery, the number of North Carolina foreclosure filings continue to mount and will break a state record by the end of November, a new study of county filings has found.
The NC Justice Center analysis of foreclosure filings in North Carolina’s 100 counties found the state is on pace for 70,476 total foreclosure filings, far outpacing 2009’s previous record of 63,286. At this rate, North Carolina will set an annual record on Nov. 23, the study projected.
Chris Estes, executive director of the NC Housing Coalition said the high rate of filings should put the new Republican-led General Assembly on notice. He said this is not the time to cut programs that help homeowners in distress.
Legislators might be tempted to look at the state’s $10 million housing trust fund and its program for assisting people through the foreclosure process as places to save as it closes a projected $3.2 billion state budget gap. But Estes said cuts in housing assistance will only make the housing market more treacherous for middle and low income earners.
“Nobody is opposed to balancing the budget,” Estes said. “Just understand that what the consequences are. You could cut certain things and make [the housing market] worse.”
Neill Fendly, president of the N.C. Association of Mortgage Professionals, said that as bad as the current peak in foreclosures is, there will be another big surge behind hit. He said many adjustable rate mortgages are due to be recalculated upward and that will be too much for homeowners on the edge.
“We’ve gotten way beyond sub-prime loans. Now we’re talking about prime borrowers who’ve lost a job, have medical bills or have taken some other kind of economic hit,” he said. “Given the number of people who are in trouble, we’re going to see another big wave.”
As more people lose their homes, Estes said this is the time to bolster support for affordable housing.
“Foreclosures continue to cause significant damage to low and moderate income neighborhoods,” Estes said. “The solution is more investment by all levels of government in quality affordable rental housing that will create construction jobs and stabilize households in a quality home they can afford.”
Lists of the top 10 counties in total projected foreclosure filings and per capita projected foreclosure filings:
TOP 10 COUNTIES BY TOTAL PROJECTED FORECLOSURE FILINGS FOR 2010
New Hanover (1,979)
TOP 10 COUNTIES BY PER CAPITA PROJECTED FORECLOSURE FILINGS FOR 2010
Dare (2.76 percent of individuals)
New Hanover (1.01)
Contact: Ned (at) ncindependent (dot) com.
(Image by Matt Mahurin)