New flood of foreclosures likely to hit area

Report: New flood of foreclosures likely to hit area

By: David Sherfinski
Examiner Staff Writer
October 28, 2009

Tens of thousands of additional foreclosed homes are expected to flood the Washington area soon, and the housing crisis is sending “ripple effects” down to renters and school-age children, according to a report released Wednesday.

More than 100,000 mortgages — almost 8 percent of all loans in the region — were delinquent in June. Further, 51,500 were more than 90 days past due, the report said.

“The chances of these households going into foreclosure are very good,” said Kathryn Pettit, lead researcher on the report, titled “Housing in the Nation’s Capital 2009.” “The level of delinquency was very surprising to us.”

Foreclosure facts
» County foreclosure rates in June 2009 were highest in Prince George?s (5.2 percent), Charles (3.9 percent) and Prince William (3.7 percent).
» The region?s hardest-hit ZIP codes were in the Prince George?s communities of Bladensburg (20710), Riverdale (20737), Adelphi (20783) and Brentwood (20722), where 7 to 9 percent of loans were in foreclosure.
» All counties except Arlington, Stafford and Warren had some ZIP codes with foreclosure rates over 3 percent.

This year’s report was the Urban Institute’s seventh annual “Housing in the Nation’s Capital” study.

Prince George’s County had the highest June foreclosure rate (5.2 percent), followed by Charles County (3.9 percent) and Prince William County (3.7 percent), the report found.

Foreclosures are “still a very significant factor in our housing market,” said Prince William County Finance Director Christopher Martino.

From January to June, monthly bank sales were higher than the number of foreclosures in the county. In July and August, however, the number of foreclosures outpaced the number of bank sales — a tough statistic for a market still struggling toward recovery. But while counties like Prince William lurch toward a rebound in home sales, renters and school-age children in the area feel the effects of the crisis as well, the report said.

About half of the households in the District of Columbia affected by foreclosure in April were renters, and about 1,400 D.C. public school students lived in a home that was in foreclosure during the 2008-09 school year, according to the report.

Pettit said many renters aren’t aware of their rights when their buildings go into foreclosure, and counselors aren’t necessarily trained to think about how the process affects families.

“The foreclosure crisis is far from over, and the hardship is not distributed evenly across the region,” Pettit said. “How well area governments and service agencies coordinate their responses will influence the pace of the housing market recovery and determine the extent of long-term harm on our neighborhoods and families.”

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