A group of 16 housing advocacy organizations want the Prince George’s County Foreclosure Task Force to find ways to stem an alarming rise in housing foreclosures recently.
Maryland is third in the nation for homes in foreclosure actions, lead largely by a flurry of foreclosure activity in Baltimore City and Prince George’s and Charles counties, according to RealtyTrac, a website that tracks real estate listings and foreclosure filings.
According to industry experts, one in every 647 homes in Maryland is in a stage of foreclosure proceedings and in Prince George’s it is one in every 540 homes. The county had 49% more foreclosures in June 2013 compared to this time last year.
Housing units in the county are in varied stages of foreclosure with 53.4% up for auction, 29.9% in pre-foreclosure and 16.7Z% being bank owned, RealtyTrac reports.
HIP is seeing 70 to 80 new foreclosure clients a month and 50% or more are African-American. Foreclosures hot spots for Prince George’s are Aquasco, Glenn Dale, Clinton, Accokeek and Upper Marlboro, according to Realtytrac.
“A lot of our clients have had a reduction in their income. Another segment of our clients worked in construction or lower-wage jobs and a lot of that industry has been hit,” said Hunter.
The surge in foreclosures in 2013 can be traced to the Maryland Foreclosure Mediation Law which was passed in 2010 and required that banks assist homeowners in foreclosure proceedings with securing loan modifications. The banks finally became compliant with the law this year and the backlog of mortgages, “are moving at a break neck speed,” said Mary Hunter, director of the Housing Counseling Program at HIP Services, Inc. (HIP).
HIP recently signed onto a letter with 15 other housing advocacy organizations asking that develop and deliver more programs to stem the rise in foreclosures. Even lending giant Fannie Mae is jumping in to assist the foreclosure problem by holding a “Help for Homeowners” event at Fed Ex Field in September.
Housing industry experts say the spike in foreclosures will continue until year’s end as the job market remains unstable and banks look to clear their books of housing inventory.