Dallas – Fort Worth Foreclosures on the Rise

April 21, 2008

Dallas Morning News Reported Today, All the publicity about so-called rescue plans to help troubled homeowners isn’t having an impact so far on Dallas-Fort Worth foreclosures.

The number of homes facing foreclosure in the area next month is up almost 40 percent from a year ago.
More than 4,400 homes are scheduled to be sold at foreclosure auction in the four-county area on the first Tuesday in May, according to statistics released Thursday from Addison-based Foreclosure Listing Service.

"All these plans and different things the government and others are talking about evidently are still in the pipeline because it certainly hasn’t helped," said George Roddy, president of the firm that tracks foreclosures in almost a dozen counties.

Mr. Roddy said the number of D-FW foreclosure postings is the second-highest on record.

"Back in February, we were over 5,000," he said. "But the percentage gain this year is unbelievable when you consider that last year was unbelievable."

Almost 43,000 homes were posted for foreclosure here in 2007 – a record and up 10 percent from 2006.

The number of home foreclosure postings has risen by 24 percent from the first five months of 2007.

The biggest increases for May’s foreclosure sales are in Rockwall and Denton counties. The number of homes facing forced sale by lenders in Rockwall County is double what it was a year ago. And in Denton County, foreclosure postings are up almost 50 percent from May 2007.

Dallas and Tarrant counties both have a 39 percent jump in postings.

Between 50 percent and 60 percent of the monthly foreclosure postings result in an actual forced sale of the property. In some cases, the sales are delayed, or the borrower reaches a new agreement regarding the debt.

Many of the home loans that are in default are subprime mortgages that have burdened borrowers with rising payments.

But Mr. Roddy said current economic conditions are also playing a part in the spike in foreclosures.

"The whole economic issue is sad," he said. "You’ve had big increases in the prices of gasoline and food, and it’s one thing after another that’s hitting homeowners."

Consumer advocates say the foreclosure situation would be even worse without many programs that have been set up to help troubled borrowers.

But they admit that the scale of the situation is overwhelming.

"There is no one silver bullet to take care of the problems," said Todd Mark, vice president of education at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas. "We are getting a lot of people calling who are many months behind in their mortgages."

Many of the borrowers have just stretched too far, Mr. Mark said.

"Somebody is always living beyond their means – maybe only by $100 or $200 a month," he said.

Rising food and energy costs are adding to consumer woes.

"We see people already stretched to the limit, and they can’t handle that 25-cent jump in gas prices," Mr. Mark said. "And it’s cheaper to drink gasoline than it is milk right now.

"All these factors are creating a perfect storm for consumers."

He said he doesn’t expect to see much change in home foreclosures over the next 18 to 24 months.

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