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Foreclosures on the rise in New Jersey

On October 9, RealtyTrac, a nationwide supplier of foreclosure data and services, released a new report detailing rates of foreclosure around the country. Compared to a year ago, most parts of the country have experienced a decline in the number of residential foreclosures. However, some states, New Jersey included, have bucked the general trend, seeing a significant spike in foreclosure activity.

Increase spurred on by legal settlements, judicial rulings

According to the new report, from September of 2012 to September of 2013, foreclosure filings were up in New Jersey by 53 percent. Over the same period, foreclosures nationwide were down by 27 percent.

Some areas of the state were hit harder than others. For instance, in September, one out of every 410 households in Bergen County faced a foreclosure filing, while in Passaic County, only one in every 222 households was hit with a foreclosure filing.

Many experts blame the increase in foreclosure activity at least in part on New Jersey’s relatively slow foreclosure process. In New Jersey, the average foreclosure takes 1,002 days from beginning to end – more than two and a half years. Foreclosure activity was further slowed last year when a series of lawsuits over “robo-signing” – mortgage lenders approving documents without reading them – were proceeding through the court system. With several new rulings and settlements issued in these cases, foreclosure activity has picked up and lenders are trying to move through the backlog.

The slow foreclosure processing speed can actually be a good thing for New Jersey homeowners. Under New Jersey law, homeowners can stay in a property for as long as 45 days after foreclosure, and many get to remain in their homes until the house is sold, which can take months. According to RealtyTrac, in New Jersey almost 4,300 homes are currently owned by a bank, but half of them are still occupied by the former owner.

Facing foreclosure? Get in touch with a New Jersey bankruptcy attorney.

If you are among the many New Jersey homeowners who are facing foreclosure, you have options. For instance, by filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy before the foreclosure sale takes place, you can halt foreclosure proceedings and get a chance to catch up on your past due mortgage payments.

Talk to a New Jersey bankruptcy attorney to learn more about legal solutions to foreclosure. Whether you want to stay in your home, or get out of your mortgage obligations by selling your home, your bankruptcy attorney can advise you on the best legal tools to help you achieve your financial goals.