published Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Foreclosure countywide problem

While Brainerd and East Chattanooga are two parts of Hamilton County hit hard by home foreclosures, Ooltewah, East Brainerd, Hixson, East Ridge and Soddy-Daisy are hurting as well, according to figures for the first eight months of the year.

“No area is insulated from this problem,” said Jason Farmer of Re/Max Renaissance Realtors in Chattanooga.

Foreclosure actions happen after homeowners default on their mortgages. And that’s a problem affecting people in many income brackets, said Blane Andrews of Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise.

CNE recently sponsored a community meeting about foreclosures at the Carver Recreation Center. Andrews said it doesn’t matter if someone is earning $30,000 annually or $80,000.

“People’s lifestyles are based on their income,” he said. “When you lose a job, you’ve got people having trouble making their mortgage payment.”

Chattanooga homeowner Donna Macon, who took part in the community meeting, said she didn’t know foreclosures were so bad in the city.

“It’s becoming common — like breathing,” she said.

Data show over 1,000 Hamilton County homes in foreclosure in local ZIP codes through August, according to RealtyTrac. Just a handful of ZIP codes in the county had no or few foreclosures.

The 37411 ZIP code, which covers some of Brainerd, had 156 foreclosures and the nearby 37406 ZIP code recorded another 135, figures show.

The 37363 ZIP code, which includes Ooltewah, had 180 foreclosures in the first eight months and the East Brainerd ZIP, 37421, reported 181.

Randy Durham, Chattanooga Association of Realtors president, said there are enough foreclosures in the area to affect home values, though not dramatically.

“We’ll see a drop in values until the foreclosures go through the market,” he said.

Farmer said Realtors are just beginning to see a reduction in the number of foreclosure actions in the wake of the so-called “robo-signing” of documents. Recent reports indicate that many mortgage lenders routinely rubber-stamped foreclosures without looking at the paperwork.

This week, 50 state attorneys general announced they were investigating the practices of the mortgage servicing industry. Some lenders have frozen or curbed foreclosure actions.

“As that is being looked at ... we’re definitely seeing an inventory adjustment,” Farmer said.

But, he said, that doesn’t stop the foreclosure problem.

“This is a temporary slowdown,” Farmer said.

Continue reading by following these links to related stories:

Article: States’ probe of foreclosures could force reforms

Article: Delinquent mortgages push up foreclosures

Article: Learn to prevent foreclosure

Click here to vote in our daily poll: Have you noticed more foreclosures in your neighborhood?

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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slr3 said...

I don't know how Congress can critize banks for not reading the foreclosure documents. They routinely pass legislation that they have never read ie: Obamacare and Finreg. Vote them all out on November 2nd and let's get a new group to represent us. Whoever we elect can't be any worse than what we now have.

October 16, 2010 at 9:45 a.m.
fairmon said...

I don't know Slr3. Have you looked at what the two parties are offering up for the 3rd congressional district? I will vote for independent candidate Savas Kriadidis even though he is not funded well enough nor does he have a political machine owning him. So, unless enough people decide to vote for the most qualified he is not likely to get elected.

October 16, 2010 at 2:40 p.m.
NoMyth said...

One simple housing reform that needs to happen immediately....lower realtor commissions...6%...for what? What a joke. Buyers can choose a home and a home inspector without any assistance from a realtor. Sellers should be able to list for a modest fee and append all tax and title records available through a nationwide database. The collusion among realty companies and the National Association of Realtors needs to be put under a national microscope. Enough is enough with these scam artists.

October 16, 2010 at 5:17 p.m.

sir3. What a shallow comment! How would you feel if you were rushed into a foreclosure that not only ruined your credit but may have also destroyed your family and marriage? And the reason would have been that the bank did not follow the law and regulations in handling the foreclosure. It is sad to see people so ideological that they cannot understand what is happening in peoples' lives. It has nothing to do with the complexity if Congressional legislation.

October 16, 2010 at 6:12 p.m.
sunnydelight said...

I am not a Realtor. I have bought & sold several houses over the years.I always use a Realtor . Even if it's a cash sale and the house is paid for. The Realtor earns every dime he or she collects . It's obvious NoMyth has never bought or sold without a realtor.

October 16, 2010 at 6:37 p.m.
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