July foreclosures down 2% in N.H.

The number of recorded foreclosure deeds in New Hampshire dropped about 2 percent in July 2009 when compared to a year earlier, according to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.

Based on results from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Delinquency Survey, New Hampshire had 298 recorded foreclosure deeds, compared to about 305 in July 2008. Overall, this represents about a 2.3 percent decline for the first seven months of 2009 as compared to the same time period in 2008. Foreclosure deeds are the final step in the foreclosure process.

“Significant declines in the number of foreclosure deeds through the second half of this year are unlikely; however, the current trend does suggest that cumulatively 2009 will show a slight decline in foreclosure deeds when compared to 2008,” the NHHFA said in a release.

New Hampshire’s foreclosure initiation rate also fell in the second quarter of 2009 by 0.95 percent. The agency called it “the first statistically significant decrease in the past two years.”

The national rate for foreclosure initiation was 1.36 percent and 0.97 percent in New England.

“The rate of foreclosure initiation in New Hampshire continues to be well below the rate in Rhode Island, above the rate in Vermont, and similar to the rates in Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut,” according to NHHFA.

That’s about where the good news ends for Granite State mortgagees.

NHHFA recorded 20 percent more foreclosure public auction notices in July 2009 than the same month last year, a sign “that growing numbers of New Hampshire households are struggling with their mortgage payments.”

In July 2009, there were 870 notices, compared to slightly more than 700 in July 2008.

Mortgage delinquency rates in New Hampshire for the second quarter of 2009 — as recorded by MBA survey which samples of more than 44 million mortgage loans — also rose to 7.48 percent, 2 percent higher than a year earlier.

New Hampshire’s delinquency rate is more than 1.3 percentage points lower than the U.S. average and lower than four of the five other New England states. Only Vermont has a lower mortgage delinquency rate in New England. — CINDY KIBBE/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW