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Some still cannot stop foreclosure despite economic growth

The most recent data regarding foreclosures across the country, including here in New Jersey, indicates that numbers have finally fallen to pre-mortgage crisis levels. Much of this is attributed to economic growth and the fact that lenders are clearing out foreclosed inventory. Despite these encouraging statistics, there are still numerous homeowners who cannot stop foreclosure proceedings from being filed against them.

As of the end of March, there were "only" 631,000 active foreclosures across the country. This is reportedly the lowest that number has been since Oct. 2007. Of course, when this is compared with the nearly 1.2 million active cases in 2010, that is a significant decline. During the 2010 height of the foreclosure "boom," people were mailing the keys to their homes to their lenders -- essentially raising their hands in defeat instead of fighting to keep the homes that they were no longer able to afford.

Records indicate that delinquencies are also lower than they have been in some time. With the decline in unemployment and the increase in salaries, many people are in a better position to remain current on their mortgage loans. In fact, some of the larger lenders, such as Wells Fargo & Co., are eliminating employment positions in their delinquency departments because they can no longer substantiate them.

For those homeowners here in New Jersey and across the country who are unable to stop foreclosure actions from being filed against them, bankruptcy might be the best option. Many factors would determine whether it would be more advantageous to file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but one of the most important could be whether an owner wants to keep his or her home. Answering that question alone can help set the course of the proceedings that will provide the filer with a fresh financial start.

Source: Bloomberg, "America Is Finally Putting Home Foreclosure Crisis Behind It", Matt Scully, April 25, 2016

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