WSJ: Spokane foreclosures up 103% YOY
•Number of filings: 206
•Percentage increase: 217%
Kennewick’s unemployment rate stands at 6.2%, down from 6.7% at this time last year and significantly lower than the national rate. Existing single-family home values fell only slightly from a median sale price of $169,200 in 2007 to $167,100 in 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
So, what’s contributing to the rise in foreclosures? “The problem for people who are losing their houses is that their mortgages are haunting them, either because their income has dropped and they can’t handle the mortgage or much more likely the mortgage rate adjusted upward and they can’t afford the mortgage any longer,” says Warren Bland, professor emeritus of economic geography at California State University, Northridge. Builders are reacting to the spike in foreclosures; permits for new housing fell to 508 during the first half of this year compared to 706 from January through June 2006.
Another city in Washington – Spokane – has seen a big increase in foreclosure filings, up 103%, in part because borrowers have been intentionally defaulting on their mortgages once their homes fell underwater, says Bland. Median sales prices for existing homes dropped from $193,800 in 2007 to $170,100, according to preliminary NAR data for the first quarter.