Even though the Triangle is one of the better performing real estate markets in the country, even being named by Newsweek as one of the Top 10 Places in America Poised for Recovery, it wasn’t enough to buoy the state’s foreclosure rate, which has surged during 2010.
In October, the foreclosure rate jumped more than 40 percent when compared to the same time last year. This was supposed to be the year of rebuilding, the year the recession slowed. RealtyTrac, a real estate data service, also reported that the number of foreclosures in October was 13 percent higher than September.
Oddly enough and accolades aside, our state is running contrary to the national foreclosure trend, which is down 4 percent from September. So what’s going on out there?
We know that mortgage rates are at record lows and will continue to decline upon the implementation of another stimulus by the Fed, which will end up pumping another few billion into the economy. Still, home sales lag.
Many accuse the termination of a year-long tax credit program that provided $8,000 in tax incentives to first-time home buyers and $6,000 to others upon closing. This strategy, which was measurable cash, helped stave off the conditions we’re experiencing now.
Not helping matters at all is the foreclosure paperwork and “robo-signing” controversies, which suggest that banks around the country improperly processed foreclosures for the sake of efficiency, resulting in potentially thousands of fraudulent cases. Lawsuits are popping up and the market is expected to feel additional negative impact.
The head of RealtyTrac pointed out a rather scary figure. October marked twenty months in a row of at least 300,000 home foreclosures throughout America. The only reason the number was not higher last month was because of the brewing scandal, because of which many banks temporarily halted their actions against homeowners. Bank of America was the largest bank to do so but quickly re-started them after “reviewing” all of their cases subject to concern.
Unfortunately, because many banks have re-started their foreclosure processes, November will most likely realize an increase in the national foreclosure rate, providing us with yet another reason to not be all that thankful this year.
In North Carolina, 2010 is supposed to set a record for total number of foreclosures, according to the state Justice Center, an organization that supports lower income citizens of North Carolina. The group issued a report that estimates close to 75,000 homes will be lost back to their lenders by December 31. Last year, a little more than 63,000 homes were given back.
Everyone in the real estate market is hoping that at some point, a bottom will be reached, as if seeing things at their worst is some sort of collective ambition of the populace. Maybe that helps signal a way back up for Wall Street and office workers, but for those living at or near it, the bottom only grows more familiar. Eventually, the way back to financial independence, home ownership and eight consecutive hours of restful sleep will become something of a myth, relegating far too many people to the position of lower-income benchmark, used as an example of what happens when a person reaches bottom, not what happens when your country forgets about you.
If you haven’t given thought before to the benefits of bankruptcy, maybe it’s time you give us a call. Not only can it help save your home, but it can help you sustain your dignity in the face of this relentless recession.