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NWI foreclosures drop like rest of the nation

Updated: December 24, 2012 6:02AM



Home foreclosure rates are slowly dropping across the United States and Northwest Indiana.

That combined with rising sales of existing homes and new housing starts give housing industry professionals confidence the housing market is on the rebound.

Foreclosure rates in Northwest Indiana decreased for the month of August — by .23 percent about over the same period last year, according to data from CoreLogic. The four-county Gary metro area — Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton counties — had a 3.89 percent foreclosure rate, which is higher than the national rate of 3.35 percent as of August. CoreLogic recently released national and state data for September and the numbers continue to drop with Indiana and the U.S. sporting a 3.3 percent foreclosure rate.

The foreclosure rate measures the percentage of loans that are in some stage of the foreclosure process.

Hammond Realtor Michael Campbell deals almost exclusively with foreclosed properties. Campbell said the number has been fairly steady for about the past year. Overall, he said the numbers are worse in Illinois.

“There are a lot of buyers looking at foreclosed properties,” he said. “It can be a good deal. Everything is negotiable, and banks tend to drop the price every 30 days because the main focus is to sell the property.”

Campbell said foreclosures tend to occur when a homeowner owes more than the house is worth. Several clients agreed to short sales to avoid the foreclosure process.

Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors CEO Peter Novak said Northwest Indiana sees more distressed property sales than other parts of the state, particular in the northern part of Lake County. Novak said housing prices are slowly inching up as a consequence of fewer foreclosures and distressed sales — which typically sell at a 15 to 20 percent discount.

“We have a lot of good things to sustain us, and I think the recovery is occuring,” Novak said.

The mortgage delinquency rate dropped in the region in August. According to CoreLogic data, 7.93 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 8.09 percent for the same period last year — a 0.16 percent decrease.

A recent search on zillow.com showed that Lake County leads the region with 88 bank-owned properties, 127 foreclosed homes and 9,982 homes in preforeclosure, while Porter County has 36 bank-owned homes, 148 foreclosed homes and 380 homes in preforeclosure.

CoreLogic’s chief economist Mark Fleming stressed that not every foreclosure process is completed.

“Completed foreclosures don’t occur to the extent that foreclosures are started by servicers because of modifications, short sales, deeds-in-lieu and other resolution strategies,” Fleming said. “The servicing industry is doing more of these alternatives to foreclosure than ever before.”



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