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Mortgage foreclosures drop to 1990s levels

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Mortgage foreclosures that drove some Wisconsinites from their homes during the economic recession have dropped to levels not seen since the 1990s, according to economists who track the real estate market.

The number of foreclosure filings in the Badger State peaked in 2009 at 28,500. In 2016, those filings are about one-fourth of the 2009 level, said Russell Kashian, a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater professor who tracks foreclosures in the state.

An improved economy and job growth have helped property owners stay in their homes. And, new rules on residential lending, precipitated by the loose standards that led to the foreclosure crisis and economic downturn, have made it more difficult for some borrowers to qualify for mortgages, Kashian said.

“You had creative financing matched up with people who traditionally weren’t buying homes,” said Kashian. “You brought people into the marketplace who weren’t necessarily ready at that point to be in the marketplace. And you had buyers of bonds who were thrilled to invest in American real estate financing.”

While there could be some pockets of foreclosure trouble in the state, overall, Kashian said, “It’s not really a problem anymore.”

The final foreclosure number isn’t expected for another week or so, according to the Journal Sentinel.

In southeastern Wisconsin last year, there were 3,974 mortgage foreclosure filings in Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties. That was less than a third of the amount in the toughest years of the crisis, 2009 and 2010. It also was down almost 22 percent from 5,073 filings in 2015, court records for the counties show.

In the Milwaukee metro housing market, foreclosed or distressed properties accounted for as much as 40 percent of sales from 2010 to 2012. But, now they account for a percent of sales that is in the low single digits.

“It’s not even on anyone’s radar any longer,” said Mike Ruzicka, president of the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

 

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