By DON FENLEY
TRI-CITIES, Tenn. – The number of local properties with foreclosure filings in May almost doubled from last year. While that’s a big increase, they are still minor compared to the local historical foreclosure activity.
They’re minor because of the equity gains made during the past four years. Those gains boosted the number of equity rich mortgage properties to record highs. At the same time, they lifted the equity position of mortgaged properties. That gave and continues giving stressed owners leverage to solve their problems in other ways than foreclosure.
That leverage is helping keep the lid on foreclosures and so is the fact that there aren’t as many homeowners in trouble. But there are clouds gathering around that rosy outlook. A recent report by the Greater Kingsport United Way said 46% of Northeast Tennesseans have incomes below what is needed to survive in the modern family. There are also signs many households – even those in the lower ranks of the six figures levels – are living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Separate reports from the Hill and SmartAssest mirror the United Way report point to an economy and labor market where many households are rapidly falling behind. The culprit is local wages have not kept pace with home prices, rents or inflation. A full local report on that issue can be found at donfenley.com
So far this year there have been 196 properties with new filings. During the first five months of last year, the total was 157. Last year there were 365, according to land, property and real estate data curator ATTOM .
“Despite efforts made by government agencies and policy makers to try to reduce foreclosure rates, we are seeing an upward trend in foreclosure activity,” said Rob Barber, chief executive officer at ATTOM. “This unfortunate trend can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as rising unemployment rates, foreclosure filings making their way through the pipeline after two years of government intervention, and other ongoing economic challenges. However, with many homeowners still having significant home equity, which may help in keeping increased levels of foreclosure activity at bay.”
The timing of when foreclosures will pick up can be influenced by several factors. These factors include the overall economic conditions, the state of the housing market, and government interventions, such as moratoriums or foreclosure prevention programs.
In the aftermath of an economic downturn or, it is common for foreclosure rates to rise as individuals may struggle with mortgage payments or experience job loss. However, the exact timeline for when this pick up will occur can be difficult to predict as it depends on the specific circumstances and recovery of the economy.
Bank repossessions were only eight of May new filings. This time last year there were five.
Categories: REAL ESTATE