In foreclosure rankings New Jersey was given 8th position. Hunterdon, a comparatively rich zone, has not been spared increase in foreclosure numbers. During the first three quarters of 2008 more houses were sold in foreclosure auctions than those sold in the twelve months of 2008, reported George Muller, the Under-sheriff. The sale of houses will exceed the figures of last year by 20%.
The county clerk, Mary Melfi comments that the increase in residential mortgages is because of the resetting of the sub-prime loans to higher niches and also because of unemployment.
Hunterdon may not be one of the dense foreclosure pockets of the country but it is not totally immune to the menace. From July to the end of September 28 houses were foreclosed upon showing a jump of 180% over 2007 during the same months when 10 houses suffered foreclosure. This is according to the findings of Property Research Partners based in Brooklyn. Across the state foreclosures have increased by 42%.
When borrowers fail to keep their monthly payments the loan goes into default. The lenders now resort to foreclosure to realize their unpaid dues. It is a judicial procedure. At the court auctions the house becomes the property of the highest bidder. The court auctions are held under the aegis of the Sheriff. Muller clarified that new foreclosed properties are rushing into the market at the rate of three to four units each week. The auction of nine houses is held on an average per week. Often there are no satisfactory bids. Houses remain hanging in a state of limbo while lenders try to work out solutions. Meanwhile the community suffers from the curse of abandoned houses. Usually the highest bidder is the lender. When the lender takes it on, the unit becomes bank repossessed.
For each unit that is sold the county is given a commission. Muller quipped, “Just like a real estate agent“. The calculations are 6% for the first $15,000 and 4% on the remaining balance. This amount is credited to the coffers of the county and not included in the budget of the Sheriff.
From January to September 2008 there were 83 foreclosure listings. Of these 53 were sold. From the transactions the county gained by $203,483 in the form of commission and sundry fees. The hope is that in this year the county might pocket record breaking commissions for the county. So far the highest was in 2004 when the amount was $301,280.