NJ Near Top of List for Mortgages in Trouble
A new report finds better than one in 10 New Jersey residential mortgages are in jeopardy right now.
The Mortgage Bankers Association says 11 percent of New Jersey home mortgages are either in foreclosure or at least 90 days in arrears. According to the MBA, that's the highest proportion of any state in the nation, even though the numbers here have declined for six consecutive quarters.
"Our distressed rate is about double what we see nationwide," said Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at CohnReznick in Roseland. The MBA says the rate is currently 4.7 percent, leading O'Keefe to cite factors such as slower economic growth and hiring in the Garden State as well as housing prices that are "even more out of whack than they were nationally, (contributing) to this mortgage mess."
New Jersey is also digging its way out of its mortgage problems at a slower pace than most other states. Year-over-year, the MBA found the state's distressed mortgage rate declined 8.2 percent, ranking New Jersey 47th -- fourth-smallest among all states -- for moving away from this trouble. By comparison, the national rate of decline from these jeopardized mortgages was 18.5 percent over the same period.
One reason for all of the foot-dragging in getting out of mortgage hell: We are a so-called "judicial foreclosure state."
That means the legal procedures are complicated, and slow, for executing a foreclosure process against a homeowner. Much of the process involves going through New Jersey's courts.
O'Keefe said the high rate of foreclosures, the number of homeowners delinquent on their mortgages, and housing prices that remain out of reach for many buyers all mean that "there is actually downward pressure on the overall health of the state's housing market."