Creating Homeowners, Preserving Neighborhoods in Maryland

Experts: Latest Drop in Foreclosures May Not Tell the True Tale of Economic Pain Maryland Families Are Facing

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FEBRUARY 18

Baltimore – From the beginning of the national economic collapse in 2007, foreclosure statistics have been a pretty reliable indicator of the financial distress families were facing out in Maryland’s Main streets and Maple streets. But experts tell The Daily Record that the latest foreclosure statistics may be deceptive.

RealtyTrac, the California-based monitoring service, is reporting foreclosures in Maryland dropped 70 percent in January, compared to January 2010. Maryland, which consistently has had one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, dropped all the way down to 37th last month.

Researchers attribute the drop, in part, to the robo-signing controversy, which moved Governor Martin O’Malley and other state leaders to caution lenders to slow down the foreclosure machinery until their procedures could be reviewed; and on Maryland’s new foreclosure mediation law, which gave homeowners an additional opportunity to work out a sustainable alternative to losing their home. But although foreclosures slowed, far too many families remain in economic distress, says Mark Benson, of Baltimore’s St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center.

The Washington Post, reporting on statistics just released by the Mortgage Bankers Association, paints a slightly rosier picture. The labor market is improving, the paper says, and the number of homeowners behind in their mortgage is at its lowest level since 2008.

Maryland, under the leadership of Governor O’Malley, moved early to make the foreclosure process more open and more fair. Since 2007, Maryland’s Hope Counseling Network has helped nearly 53,000 families. Learn more about Maryland’s efforts to help families find sustainable alternatives to foreclosure, considered one of the most aggressive in the country.

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