Three weeks ago the US Supreme Court published an opinion in the case of US Bank National Association v. Guillaume which many, including us, thought would be the start of a rush in foreclosures in New Jersey. Now the New Jersey process servers and many others are wondering just what happened and where are all the foreclosures.
It is known that there are currently thousands of foreclosures waiting in the pipelines. Nearly 49,000 borrowers in New Jersey are more than 90 days behind in payments as of December 31st according to the Mortgage Bankers Association while the Department of Human Affairs has estimated there is another 50,000 to 100,000 unprocessed foreclosure cases. A company which tracks foreclosures and homes in dangers of foreclosures, CoreLogic, said last Tuesday that the rate of foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans is 5.25 percent for the month of December 2011 — that’s 0.59 points higher than December of 2010, when the rate was 4.66 percent in Ocean, Monmouth, Somerset and Middlesex counties.
CoreLogic also reported in the beginning of March that 14.2%, or 79,000 homes in these four counties owe more money on their homes than the home is currently worth, which could eventually raise the foreclosure numbers are homeowners stop making payments on these homes.
Given the history of foreclosures and its surrounding legal procedure in the past several years there is no doubt that perhaps some have adopted a “wait and see” approach. Over the past year and half there have been numerous occasions where the foreclosures were allowed to proceed, only for another moratorium or hold to be put in place in response to a new concern or issue. Instead of beginning to file and having to stop shortly after or even need to re-file cases, many could be waiting to ensure that no new problems arise.
While many other states across the county are reporting higher foreclosure rates than in the previous year, New Jersey has yet to begin to see the same reports. RealtyTrac has reported that foreclosure filings are up about 25% in states that have settled with the government in response to robo-signing issues. For those of us who expected the impending foreclosure wave to be more immediate, it seems that it may take some more time before the full effect of increased foreclosures takes hold.