Foreclosures rising in Polk County

Published 9:23 pm Monday, March 8, 2010

The number of Polk County property owners who have gone into foreclosure has grown substantially over the past decade and the numbers have continued to rise so far this year.
According to the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts, foreclosures rose in Polk County by 24 between 2008 and 2009.
There were 75 foreclosures in 2008 compared to 99 in 2009. So far this year, there have been 24 foreclosures in January and February. If that trend continues throughout the remainder of the year, Polks foreclosures could grow 50 percent over last year.
The trend of increasing foreclosures continued over the past decade with slight increases most years, then significant jumps in 2008 and 2009.
In 1999, Polk County had 33 foreclosures with numbers slightly increasing in the years following and some years decreasing by one or two until 2008.
The number of foreclosures went from 61 in 2007 to 75 in 2008. The largest increase was between 2008 and 2009 from 75 foreclosures to 99.
Polk County Tax Collector Melissa Bowlin says she has seen a significant increase in foreclosures over the last year, although the county doesnt process most foreclosures.
Most foreclosures in the county have gone through banks, but the county has started the foreclosure process on a couple of properties for delinquent taxes this year.
Polk County Assistant Clerk of Courts Pam Hyder, who handles the filing of foreclosures also says she has seen a significant increase, especially in 2009 and this year.
Hyder says there were 118 filings in 2008 compared to 132 in 2009. So far this year there have been 28 filings.
Although the majority of filings are for foreclosures, not all filings in Polk County are for foreclosures.
A few are for adoptions and incompetencies, Hyder says. Filings also dont all go through to foreclosure. Some are settled or paid prior to the final foreclosure process.
Polk Countys trend of rising foreclosures is similiar to state-wide data.
The number of foreclosures over the past 10 years more than tripled in the state, from 18,385 in 1999 to 63,312 in 2009. Projections are for foreclosures to continue to rise throughout 2010, with 10,881 already in foreclosure through February of this year in North Carolina.
U.S. President Barack Obamas administration has also made efforts to help homeowners from defaulting on their loans.
The latest effort is offering lenders and homeowners money for a short sale, or selling a home for less than is owed.
The program will begin on April 5 and will encourage hundreds of thousands of delinquent borrowers who have not been rescued by the loan modification program to short sell their homes.
More than five million households are behind on their mortgages in the country and the governments $75 billion mortgage modification plan has helped only a small percentage of them.
There is also counseling help for local residents facing foreclosure.
According to the state administrative office of the courts, two foreclosure counseling agencies are available for Polk residents.
CCCS of the Carolina Foothills, Inc. is available by calling either 828-286-7062 or 1-800-567-7062. OnTrack Financial Services is also available at 828-255-5166.

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