N.H. foreclosures rise, but it's not all bad news



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There were 20 percent more foreclosures in New Hampshire in November 2011 than there were in the same month the previous year, but that comparison may be misleading since many lenders had halted foreclosure proceedings in November 2010.In November 2011, there were 273 foreclosure deeds recorded, which was 20 percent more than the 227 recorded in November 2010, according to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority. That's also an increase of 4 percent from the 262 recorded in October 2011.But, said the authority, those figures may be "a bit deceptive," since several large mortgage lenders placed a moratoria on foreclosure proceedings from the end of October 2010 through February 2011, during which months the number of foreclosures in the state noticeably dropped off.

Thus, it said, a better indication of foreclosure trends is made by comparing November 2011's figures with those in the same month of 2009 and 2008. Indeed, November 2011 saw more foreclosures than November 2009 -- when there were 250 foreclosure deeds recorded -- but fewer than November 2008, when there were 295.Year to date through November, there were about 7 percent fewer foreclosures in 2011 than the previous year's record pace of foreclosures. With just one month remaining, the authority estimates there will be about 3,700 foreclosure deeds for 2011 --- about 6.5 percent fewer than in 2010 and about on par with the number of deeds recorded in 2008.Despite the year-over-year decline, the authority continued to stress that there are still significant numbers of New Hampshire households that have fallen dangerously behind on their mortgage payments.

Foreclosure auction notices -- which are often considered a real-time indicator of properties in default -- rose 9.6 percent in November to 709 from 647 the previous month.

But cumulatively through November, foreclosure auction notice activity is also down -- a significant 19 percent below the same period last year.

The authority said that was a good sign that suggests future declines in the number of foreclosure deeds. -- KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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