Oregon’s foreclosure bulge continues, November data show

Oregon’s foreclosure bulge continues, November data show

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A Southeast Portland house in foreclosure last year. (Michael Lloyd / The Oregonian)
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November foreclosures in Oregon were down from the prior month, but still up sharply over the previous year, according to information compiled by the real estate data firm RealtyTrac. The figures reflect a pent-up push by lenders to take possession of Oregon properties where borrowers had fallen behind in their payments.

In the Portland area, Washington County saw the sharpest uptick in year-over-year foreclosure actions, with 142 housing units at some stage of the foreclosure process in November, up about 87 percent from November 2013, according to RealtyTrac.

Foreclosures declined in Multnomah and Clackamas counties in Oregon and Clark County, Wash. It’s not clear whether the discrepancy between the counties is simply an anomaly caused by a small sample or something more meaningful.

RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist said foreclosure numbers can be dampened as lenders go through required mediation processes, then rebound when they complete it.

“I think what we see is the beginning signs of that other shoe beginning to drop with the Washington County numbers in November,” Blomquist said via email. “And in fact I think we see evidence of that in Clackamas County and Multnomah County in October, when foreclosure activity was up from a year ago in both counties.”

Statewide, Oregon saw almost a 90 percent increase in housing units in some stage of foreclosure in November. Astoria and the Pendleton-Hermiston areas had the highest foreclosure rates, with more than 1 in every 880 housing units in some stage of the process.

John Helmick, chief executive of Gorilla Capital, which tracks foreclosure data in 24 Oregon counties, has described this fall’s surge in filings as a breaking of “the logjam of filings at the front end of the Oregon foreclosure system.”

Such proceedings had been stalled as lenders and mortgage holders waited for Oregon lawmakers to set rules governing foreclosures. Before proceeding with a foreclosure,lenders are now required to offer a face-to-face resolution conference to borrowers who want to remain in their houses.

Nationwide, RealtyTrac reported, said foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – declined 1 percent from a year ago. It was the 50th straight month of year-over-year declines, the company said.

-Mike Francis

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