October 15, 2018
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Home foreclosures in Maine keep going down

Paul Sakuma | AP
Paul Sakuma | AP
A house under foreclosure in Antioch, California, on Aug. 14, 2007, as the financial crisis was heating up. As home values plummeted after the housing bubble burst in 2007, many borrowers with exotic types of loans were stuck, unable to refinance as lenders began to tighten their lending criteria. That set the stage for cascading mortgage defaults.

Maine followed the national trend with foreclosures decreasing in the third quarter, compared with the same July-to-September period in 2017 and the second quarter of this year.

Some 725 properties in the state had foreclosure filings in the third quarter of this year, down 4 percent from the second quarter and down 14 percent compared to the same quarter of 2017, according to the ATTOM Data Solutions’ U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released Thursday. ATTOM extracts the data from its large property database.

Nationwide, 177,146 properties were in foreclosure in the third quarter of this year, down 6 percent from the second quarter and down almost 8 percent from the third quarter of 2017.

There are 136.57 million residential housing units in the United States, according to Statista.com. That translates into about one in every 770 properties having a foreclosure filing in the third quarter of this year.

This quarter was the eighth consecutive one in which U.S. foreclosure activity was below the average before the great recession.

Foreclosure filings include properties with default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions.

“A decade after poorly underwritten mortgages triggered a housing market crash, it’s clear that the foreclosure risk associated with those problem mortgages has faded — average foreclosure timelines have dropped to a two-year low, and the share of foreclosures tied to 2004-to-2008 loans has dropped well below 50 percent,” Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions, said in a prepared statement.

He said the biggest foreclosure risk in today’s housing market is from natural disasters like hurricanes.

Also, he said there is modest foreclosure risk associated with Federal Housing Administration loans that originated in 2014 and 2015. Federal Housing Administration loans that started in 2014 had the highest foreclosure rate of any post-recession loans in 31 states, while those that originated in 2015 had the highest foreclosure rate in 10 states.

The rest of New England, with the exception of Connecticut, also saw declines from the third quarter of 2017 to 2018. Massachusetts and New Hampshire foreclosures were each down almost 13 percent. Rhode Island was down 39 percent, and Vermont close to 2 percent. Connecticut was up 7 percent from the third quarter of 2017, but down 8.5 percent from the second quarter of this year.

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