Times have been tough across New Jersey and across the nation in the past couple of years. Whether it is a sagging economy, not enough jobs, or not enough good paying jobs, it seems that it has been difficult for many people to find their way since the so-called "great recession" of 2008.
The people of New Jersey work hard to support their families and achieve the American dream. Home ownership is a crucial part of that dream. Owning a home can provide a family with a sense of financial security, community and responsibility. But through the economic downturn over the past six years, thousands of people have lost their homes to foreclosure.
Although nearly everyone has probably heard something about the high rate of foreclosures across the nation in recent years, New Jersey residents will be sad to hear that their state now sits atop the list of states with the highest rates of foreclosure in the nation. Foreclosure is an unfortunate end to the home owning process for some people, and this story has many important implications for homebuyers and owners alike.
Even though financial gurus have been assuring us that the worst of the financial crisis is over, foreclosures of family homes don’t seem to be slowing down. According to Realty Trac, more than 1.1 million homes in America are currently in some phase of the foreclosure process, and as we reported in a recent blog post, foreclosures in New Jersey are still on the rise.
A mortgage is considered underwater if the homeowner owes more on the mortgage than the assessed value of the property, also referred to as negative home equity. In both Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey, more than half of all homes are underwater, with Paterson just behind at 49 percent.
The beginning of 2014 saw a rise in a specific type of foreclosure, according to housing data website RealtyTrac. Distressed homeowners in the process of foreclosure have decided to simply abandon their homes avoiding the traditional foreclosure process altogether. These “zombie foreclosures” actually end up stalling the typical foreclosure process completely and are becoming a burden on the overall housing market in New Jersey.
Although the United States generally is witnessing an easing of the mortgage foreclosure crisis, as we have recently discussed recent statistics show that New Jersey remains somewhat mired in it. Foreclosure activity in the state in February was twice what it was one year prior and the state ranks fourth in the number of vacant home foreclosures, according to recent statistics.
After seven years of slogging through record numbers of foreclosures, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for the New Jersey court system—and for struggling homeowners. New Jersey court officials are making strides unclogging a backlog of foreclosure cases and sorting through all of the twists and turns in cases that may involve foreclosure fraud and “robo-signing.”
New Jersey residents have the second highest rate of foreclosure in the country. However, people who have been struggling with financial challenges and might be facing foreclosure may receive some help from a recently proposed bill, according to a news report.
While national figures on foreclosure showed a 26 percent decline in 2013, the number of foreclosure filings in New Jersey soared by 44 percent. By the end of the year, 1.1 percent of homes in the state were in foreclosure.