Home foreclosure actions nearly tripled in North Jersey's wealthier communities last year, as housing distress continued to spread beyond the modest neighborhoods that have been the most afflicted.
In a sign of how rising unemployment, especially in the finance sector, has hit higher-income residents, towns from Englewood Cliffs to Saddle River to Wyckoff saw large percentage increases in the number of homeowners facing possible loss of their property — although the numbers remain small.
An analysis of 2008 foreclosure activity by The Record revealed that lenders were at various stages of retaking nearly 370 homes in upper-income towns, where the typical single-family home sold for more than $620,000 in 2007. That was up 177 percent from about 130 cases in 2007 — at a time when foreclosure activity overall throughout Bergen and Passaic counties doubled. And rising jobless numbers means foreclosures are likely to increase in the months to come.
To be sure, the majority of foreclosure actions took place in lower-priced areas, where job losses and other setbacks can quickly lead to a crisis for homeowners who live paycheck to paycheck. Nearly three-quarters of the 8,900 North Jersey foreclosure filings in 2008 came in Paterson, Passaic, Hackensack and other communities where the typical home sells for less than $400,000.
By year's end, one in 108 homes in high-end towns faced possible foreclosure, compared with one in 300 during 2007.
They also provided this foreclosure chart to show how bad some areas have been hit in Bergen and Passaic -
On the front page but not online is the foreclosure numbers for the following towns-
- Allendale 2007: 7 Foreclosures 2008: 16 Increase 129%
- Closter 2007: 28 2008: 55 Increase 206%
- Demarest 2007:6 2008: 24 Increase 300%
- Englewood Cliffs 2007: 2 2008: 13 Increase 550%
- Franklin Lakes 2007: 19 2008: 39 Increase 105%
- Ridgewood 2007: 19 2008: 48 Increase 153%
- Saddle River (and Upper Saddle River) 2007: 15 2008: 60 Increase 300%
- Wyckoff 2007: 9 2008: 23 Increase 153%
- Wayne 2007: 131 2008 237 Increase 87%
As the reverberations from the Wall Street job cuts increase these numbers are bound to increase - which will also continue to push home values down. We need a follow-up report on the changes in home values. And perhaps the local underwaters.
One other interesting note - usually an article like this has lots of snark comments - as of this posting there are none, zip, zero. Where are the usual commenters?