Foreclosures decline nationally and in the Portland area, but not so in rural Oregon
Around the country, the pain caused by the collapse of the housing bubble is ebbing. But in rural Oregon, things got worse last year.
The trends are found in data collected and reported by RealtyTrac, the housing data firm, which said foreclosure filings declined 18 percent nationally in 2014. But Oregon foreclosures — a broad classification that counts default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — rose 5.4 percent.
County-level data paints a bleaker picture outside the Portland metropolitan area, where the housing market started looking healthier last year. Foreclosure activity declined more than 35 percent in Multnomah County, more than 25 percent in Washington County and more than 44 percent in Clackamas County.
Overall, one in every 138 properties in the Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton MSA was undergoing some kind of foreclosure proceeding, a sharp improvement from the previous year.
But elsewhere in the state, a rising number of property owners are sending distress signals. In hard-hit Jefferson County, where 1 in 87 housing units is in some stage of the foreclosure process, filings rose more than 85 percent last year. Klamath County foreclosures rose 53 percent. Josephine County saw foreclosures almost double last year, to 1 in every 118 housing units.
RealtyTrac says Oregon now ranks 21st nationally in foreclosures per housing units. The worst state by far is Florida, where 1 in every 44 housing units statewide is undergoing foreclosure proceedings. In Oregon, the rate is 1 in every 154 units.
Part of the bump last year in rural Oregon foreclosures may be explained by the setting of new regulations for lenders before they launch proceedings against delinquent borrowers. Many delinquent loans rested in limbo as state regulators set new rules for conferences and notices. As one analyst put it in November, “the logjam of filings at the front end of the Oregon foreclosure system is finally breaking.”
North Dakota, home to a booming oil economy, has the lowest rate of foreclosures in the country. Just one housing unit in every 10,649 in the state is distressed.
— Mike Francis