Foreclosure filings down in 2013 in Durham

Jan. 17, 2014 @ 06:10 PM

Foreclosure filings in Durham County were down 20 percent year-over-year in 2013 to their lowest level since 2002.

That’s according to data from the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts. The count included civil case filings with a home or business foreclosure filing.

For the state of North Carolina, foreclosure filings were down 18 percent compared with 2012. The total hasn’t been lower across the state since 2005.

Orange County’s filings were down nearly 11 percent, Chatham County’s were down nearly 12 percent and Person County’s were down 15 percent.

Another data source, RealtyTrac, company that lists properties in foreclosure online, also showed a decline in foreclosures in Durham County and in North Carolina.

RealtyTrac reported that the number of properties with default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions in Durham County in 2013 was down nearly 42 percent compared with the prior year.

In its Year-End 2013 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, the company indicated that North Carolina’s foreclosure filings were down about 18 percent compared with the prior year.

Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said in a news release that the “shadow cast by the foreclosure crisis” is shrinking as fewer distressed properties are entering foreclosure. Properties already in foreclosure are poised to exit in greater numbers in 2014 nationally.

He also said that, nationally, there’s “unprecedented demand” from institutional investors that are willing to pay cash to buy properties at foreclosure auctions.

However, he said in North Carolina, the trend in scheduled foreclosure auctions is opposite to what is seen in other states that have a judicial process – or quasi-judicial process, as he categorizes North Carolina -- in which lenders are required to go through the court system to initiate foreclosure. The state saw a jump in scheduled foreclosure auctions in 2012, he said, followed by a sharp drop-off last year.

Al Ripley, director of housing and consumer issues for the N.C. Justice Center, a nonprofit that advocates for low-income people, said that while the decline in foreclosures is a positive trend, the justice center still hears from people who face foreclosure.

He said the state has a high unemployment rate, which puts people in danger of foreclosure. North Carolina’s unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in November

“We’re still seeing a very significant number of people who have difficult life situations that place them in danger (of foreclosure) and we still don’t have enough resources to combat that,” Ripley said.