Posted: March 16, 2007
I mentioned to my office manager Tammy a few weeks ago that it seemed like there was a significant increase in the number of foreclosure cases that have been filed in the four-county West Central Wisconsin region and subsequently printed in this newsletter. She agreed, but I never really bothered to do the research until this week.
The Mortgage Bankers Association announced Tuesday that Wisconsin had a foreclosure rate worse than the national average. For a long time, Wisconsin has been considered a state where bankers loan money to individuals who are some of the most reliable, on-time payers in the country. But, apparently, the new trend seems to be true, based on what has been printed in this publication so far this year.
From January through March of 2005, the number of foreclosure case filings printed in The Bottom Line in Buffalo, Chippewa, Dunn and Eau Claire Counties totaled 85. During the first three months of 2006, there were 117 foreclosure case filings in the same four counties. So far this year, there have been 129 foreclosures with two more weeks left in the first quarter.
When new mortgage foreclosure rates hit a new, 37-year high in the country, it is obviously cause for concern. No doubt the stock market's decline this week and the inevitable downturn in the economy for the next few months is not shocking news to those who know the most.
I spoke with at least four residential and/or commercial lenders in the Chippewa Valley this week who all told me (off the record) that business has been slow and they are concerned about some of their soon-to-be outstanding loans.
It is important to note that Wisconsin lenders are able to seek foreclosure judgments as quickly as two days past the due date. However, from my personal view of the files that I print in this newsletter, I can honestly say that most loan officers give their customers plenty of time and options to make their payments in a timely fashion.
I know I am preaching to the choir (builders, contractors, real estate agents, bankers, etc.) that this economy is probably going to get slightly worse before it gets better. I welcome those who wish to tell me that I am wrong. In fact, I hope I am wrong.
As always, I encourage comments and/or criticism about this editorial or any other story in The Bottom Line. Call 834-7337 or e-mail: email@example.com.