According to data supplied by the
The fourth quarter of 2013 also saw a drop to 295 foreclosures, down from 354 in third quarter, 387 in the second quarter and 347 in the first quarter.
But the subprime mortgage crisis, propelled by poor documentation, a greater pool of unqualified mortgage applicants and a steep decline in home valuations, doesn't present the total picture in
All along, local experts have said the foreclosure problem in
"First, it is not surprising that foreclosures continued in 2013 on a pace that parallels prior years," said
In 2012, the Berks County Residential Foreclosure Diversion Program was started by
Beaver further explained his opinion on last year's filings: "There are two reasons why: First, the employment picture in
"Homeowners who lost jobs during the Great Recession either have found jobs that pay significantly less than they were previously earning, or haven't found work at all and have exhausted unemployment benefits.
"Both of these factors distort employment statistics, so that even if the current rate of unemployment in
"Second, despite a well-publicized
Beaver said the diversion program recently increased its capacity for helping homeowners.
"If you look at it a year at a time and not quarterly, 2013 was lower than 2012, 2010, and 2009. The anomaly here is the year 2011, and that low number was due to several large banks pulling back on their foreclosures due to accusations of their paperwork being deficient.
"Job loss and unexpected bills such as medical are the main reason for most foreclosures. Short of free medical care, there isn't much we can do about the second, but obviously if we can improve the economy and create jobs we can recover from the foreclosure situation."
Champagne cited a survey done by the
"This was contrary to what many believed to be the culprit, which was that a high percentage of these foreclosures were due to subprime loans," Champagne said.
"Statewide foreclosure starts in
"These states are all judicial foreclosure states that were more susceptible to delays, and many of these states had additional programs to help prevent foreclosures that also had the side effect of delaying foreclosures that would have happened anyway.
"These increases are showing us that not all the distress left over from the housing bust has been resolved yet."
He added that it takes longer to resolve issues in judicial foreclosure states like
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