New York and New Jersey have the longest foreclosure timelines in the nation. In both states, foreclosures can take well more than three years. New Jersey has a formidable judicial process, as well as a strong voice in nonprofit housing activists working with distressed homeowners. Those combined to keep the foreclosure process at a snail's pace, until now. Banks have finally reached a point where they can push foreclosures forward, having streamlined all the extra paces required by laws and court rulings.
"Additionally, more nonbank lenders who purchased nonperforming loans over the past couple years are moving forward with foreclosure, having passed the foreclosure moratorium of six to 12 months required by many of these purchase agreements," said Blomquist.
With the backlog finally moving, New Jersey now has the nation's top foreclosure rate, just beating Florida, which was once the poster child for the housing crash and which also has a judicial foreclosure process. Foreclosure activity in the Garden State is more than twice the national average. New foreclosures there are falling, but bank repossessions jumped 351 percent from a year ago. Atlantic City now boasts the highest metropolitan foreclosure rate. Trouble in the local casino economy now is causing more new foreclosures, but the bulk of the bank repossessions are on homes that were in default well before that.
While states like Michigan, Texas and Washington are also seeing increases in foreclosure activity, their numbers are far closer to normal levels. Foreclosure starts historically speed up between September and November before holiday moratoria set in.
"The third-quarter increases are a sign that the foreclosure market has settled into a normalized pattern close to or even below precrisis levels, and in those states the overall housing market should easily absorb the additional foreclosure activity with little impact on home values," added Blomquist.