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N.J. fourth in nation in number of vacant foreclosures


N.J. fourth in nation in number of vacant foreclosures

MARCH 14, 2014, 12:00 AM

* February level doubles from year earlier

New Jersey continued to deal with a backlog of distressed properties in February, ranking fourth in the nation in both the number of vacant foreclosed homes and the number of foreclosure filings, a company that tracks the market reported on Thursday.

While the worst of the foreclosure crisis has passed in most of the nation, New Jersey foreclosure activity doubled from February 2013 to February 2014, according to California-based RealtyTrac. About one in every 739 housing units in the state faced a foreclosure filing during the month. At the same time, overall foreclosure activity dropped 27 percent in the U.S. overall.

And in New Jersey, 8,595 homes were vacant and in foreclosure, up 24 percent from the third quarter of 2013.

“The biggest threat from foreclosures going forward is properties that have been lingering in the foreclosure process for years, many of them vacant with neither the distressed homeowner or the foreclosing lender taking responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the home,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.

“These properties drag down home values in the surrounding neighborhood and contribute to a climate of uncertainty and low inventory in local housing markets.”

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