Portland, Oregon's Foreclosure Rate Drops Again

When we first got to Portland, we thought we wanted to buy a short sale or a foreclosure. So cheap, we thought. What could be easier? Well, as anyone knows who's taken even one step toward buying a foreclosed property beyond just dreaming about it, a lot of things are easier. Short sales and foreclosures are complicated processes. Since we were on something of a time crunch, we ended up opting for a traditional market value transaction.

Perhaps the fact that buying distressed properties requires so much patience and tolerance for red tape, clearing them off the MLS is a challenge in most metro areas. But Portland likes a challenge. In typical DIY fashion, the metro made positive steps toward controlling the impact of foreclosure on property values over the past few months. 

May data show that year-over-year, fewer homes are in foreclosure at all, with 2.56 in 2012 down from 2.59 in 2011. Additionally, the number of Portland-area borrowers who are more than 90 days behind on their payments fell as well: down to 5.47 percent from 5.69 percent last year. For better perspective, nationwide foreclosure rate in America that same month was 3.41 percent, with 6.94 percent of mortgage holders 90 or more days behind on payments.

Certainly, banks making efforts to work with, not against, property owners helps the situation, and in Portland as in other parts of the countries, distressed homeowners have been able to negotiate. When lenders allow more time or lower payments, the foreclosure process can be stalled or even halted. And in Oregon as a whole, legislator passed a law requiring that banks give homeowners quicker answers when facing foreclosure or seeking loan modification. The intent here: to make mediation possible, and effective, more often.

Though Portland certainly faces continued economic issues, its general attitude helps. I perceive this attitude as proactive; less nonsense; more logic; moving quickly to make things better for residents here. It's encouraging, and exciting, to be a Portlander.

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert.

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