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N.J. leads the nation in foreclosures. See which county had the most

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By Erin Petenko | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

But it's less than the roughly 74,000 in 2016, and there's another silver lining: Foreclosure starts — typically when homeowners receive a notice of default — declined. They are essentially the first step in the foreclosure process, so the improvement is notable.

On the other hand, bank foreclosures — typically one of the last steps in the process — increased last year. New Jersey had an inherently longer foreclosure process because it is a judicial foreclosure state, said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of ATTOM. Contested court cases must go through a judge.

"So the foreclosure framework has bandwidth limitations," he said.

The state also has many consumer protections that slow down the foreclosure process, said Steven Neuner, a South Jersey-based lawyer that advises clients facing foreclosure. 

In the last quarter of 2017, the state took 1,300 days on average to foreclose a housing unit, one of the longest periods in the nation.

"There are many procedural steps to avoid foreclosure," Neuner said, such as a 30-day notification of intent to foreclose. "They're intended to protect borrowers."

Peter McAleer, a spokesman for the state Judiciary, said that attorneys and lenders often take extra time to file a complaint after a mortgage becomes delinquent, and the time needed to hold a sheriff's auction adds to the wait.

More than half of all New Jersey properties in foreclosure were first mortgaged between 2004 and 2008. Blomquist said those loans are the most likely to default.

"To the extent that we still see those in the foreclosure process at a disproportionately high level, it is an indication of to what degree a given market is still dealing with bad loans originated during the last housing bubble," Blomquist said.

21. Hudson County

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The Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey (SHA) is a statewide, nonprofit organization, founded in 1998, whose mission is to promote and maintain a strong supportive housing industry in New Jersey serving people with special needs.

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Guest Sunday, 25 February 2018

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