N.H. foreclosure rate shows slow improvement

There were slightly more foreclosures in New Hampshire in January 2013 than there were in the same month last year, but fewer than there were in December 2012 — an indicator that the state’s foreclosure market is improving as slowly as its housing market.There were 292 foreclosure deeds recorded in the state in January — a 1 percent increase from January 2012, when there were 288, and a 1.6 percent decrease from the 297 recorded in December 2012, according to figures released by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.The authority said that the modest improvement in foreclosure numbers is indicative of an “equally modest improvement in the statewide and regional housing markets,” and predicted that there will continue to be a slow decline in foreclosures in 2013.In January, 427 foreclosure auction notices were recorded — an up-to-date indicator of the number of households that are in serious danger of foreclosure — which was virtually unchanged from the prior month. That is a major decline from January 2012, however, when there were 45 percent more. At its peak in 2010, there were an average of 809 foreclosure auction notices per month, compared with 575 per month in 2012, a 29 percent decline.The authority also reported that in the fourth quarter of 2012, delinquency rates decreased in New Hampshire to 7.2 percent. While a decline, the rate is only marginally lower than it was last year at the same time, which suggests that the improvement measured by this indicator “may have stalled,” according to a NHHFA press release.By comparison, though, New Hampshire’s delinquency rate of 7.2 percent is 0.3 percentage points lower than the U.S. average and 0.7 percent lower than New England as a whole. The rate is still historically high, however; in the first half of the decade, the delinquency rate in New Hampshire hovered between 2 and 4 percent. – KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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