Here in New Jersey, foreclosure proceedings can take nearly three years to complete on average. This means that homeowners may be kept in limbo for several years -- from the day the lender's notice of intention is filed through the completion of the sheriff's sale. Legislators have decided to attempt to stop foreclosure actions from taking so long to complete.
The crash of the housing market back in 2008 is still affecting millions of homeowners across the country. Many New Jersey residents who hoped their homes would increase in value when they bought them before the housing crisis are still struggling with declining home values. For some of them, bankruptcy could be the only way to stop foreclosure.
Between the Great Recession and Super Storm Sandy, the New Jersey housing market was hit particularly hard in comparison to the rest of the country. While foreclosures dropped in 2014 for the nation as a whole, they rose to 71 percent in the state. That means that an abundance of homeowners were unable to stop foreclosure proceedings from being filed by their lenders.
Years after the official end of the recession, many New Jersey residents are still facing the threat of losing their homes. Some homeowners became desperate enough between 2006 and 2009 to believe a company's promises to stop foreclosure. Recently, the architects of what federal officials believe was a lease buyback scam were arrested, which may leave many homeowners wondering what happens next.
Even though it has been several years since the housing market crashed, new foreclosures are still being filed here in New Jersey. Homeowners who may still be dealing with unpaid mortgage debt and facing foreclosure are filing some papers of their own. Homeowners seem to be fighting back by filing complaints aimed at debt collectors and mortgage companies.
The overall number of foreclosure filings may be dropping, and the housing market may be rebounding, but the mess left by the crash of the real estate market is still being cleaned up. Thousands of homes in which the homeowners were unable to stop foreclosure are sitting empty. These so-called "Zombie Foreclosures" have increased an astounding 58 percent in New Jersey in the last year.
Multiple news reports have highlighted the fact that New Jersey is experiencing a surge in foreclosure filings. You may be one of thousands of homeowners in the state who is concerned about being able to keep your home. Help could be on the way, if a bill up for a vote in the State Assembly passes.
For some time now, New Jersey has held steady at being number two in the nation for home foreclosures. However, the state holding the number one spot is beginning to pick up the pace of finalizing foreclosure proceedings. This could mean that the amount of unpaid mortgage debt in New Jersey could cause the state to eventually lead the nation in foreclosures.
Several settlements have been brokered with mortgage servicers over the last few years over questionable mortgage practices. Now, the fourth largest mortgage service in the country, Ocwen Financial Corporation and Ocwen Loan Servicing, the subsidiary of Ocwen Financial, has agreed to a $2.1 billion settlement. An estimated 1,900 New Jersey residents could receive a portion of the settlement and possibly stop foreclosure if they are in danger of losing their homes.
The housing crisis may be over, but that has not stemmed the flow of foreclosures around the country and in New Jersey. Numerous homes are still not worth what their owners owe on them. An estimated 2.3 million homes are still in danger of foreclosure, and many of their owners may be contemplating bankruptcy protection in the aftermath of the recession.