It has been several years since the housing market crashed and three years since Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey. However, the amount of outstanding and delinquent mortgage debt in the state has moved it to the number one spot in the nation for foreclosures. Now that certain deadlines and requirements set by the state legislature and courts have passed, the floodgates are opening.
Getting through New Jersey’s arduous judicial foreclosure process can take over three years to complete. When this is added to the time non-profit organizations spent working with homeowners, foreclosures moved slowly. That is no longer the case.
Even companies that purchased distressed loans in the last couple of years have reached the end of their contractual waiting period. Now that they are free to file foreclosure actions on the loans, they will be adding to the number of filings in the state. This perfect storm moved New Jersey ahead of Florida, which had been the poster child for foreclosures.
Foreclosures in New Jersey are two times the national average. However, the jump in home repossessions has grown at an alarming rate. Bank repossessions are 351 percent higher now than last year. Sources indicate that part of this rise is due to the trouble the casino industry is having in Atlantic City.
Regardless of whether New Jersey is number one in foreclosures, people’s homes are at stake. Homeowners whose mortgage debt is out of control may believe that they have no options. Fortunately, bankruptcy could provide a way to get mortgage debt, and other debt, back under control. For some homeowners, simply knowing that there may be other options can provide hope of brighter financial futures.
Source: CNBC, “Repossessions spike 66% as foreclosure crisis lingers“, Diana Olick, Oct. 15, 2015