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New Jersey ranks high in foreclosures

Homes are more than mere shelter. It is where people not only sleep and eat, but also carry out their lives. However, some people are at risk of losing their homes due to economic conditions or employment issues. In New Jersey, new foreclosure filings were up by 115 percent in August compared to the same period last year. The state ranks in the top four in foreclosures nationwide. Statewide, one in every 553 housing units is in foreclosure. The rate is even higher in Atlantic County where one in every 292 houses is subject to a foreclosure filing.

Many observers blame the problem on a loss of jobs, particularly the loss of jobs in casinos that paid well. This problem has developed as the casino industry in Atlantic City has shrunk and shed jobs. Many of the homes in foreclosure are in the $300,000 to $500,000 price range. Casino workers could afford to pay the mortgages on these homes when they bought them. Since then, many have either lost their jobs or gone from full-time to part-time hours, and they no longer earn enough money to make their mortgage payments.

In addition, Atlantic County has the second highest unemployment rate in the state, at 10 percent trailing only Cumberland County, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor. There is a program to help people obtain a mortgage modification to avoid foreclosure.

Losing a job can leave people unable to pay their bills and plunge them into debt. When that happens, filing for bankruptcy might represent the best chance someone has to make a fresh start. An attorney who has experience in this area can assist a client by examining and describing the bankruptcy options that might help delay a foreclosure.

Source: CBS Philly, “New Jersey Has Fourth Highest Foreclosure Rate In The Nation“, September 12, 2014

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