N.H. foreclosures rise in March, but trend seems brighter

The number of foreclosures in New Hampshire increased 16 percent in March from the previous month, but so far in 2012 foreclosures are down about 5 percent from where they were last year.There were 362 foreclosure deeds recorded in New Hampshire in March, a 15.6 percent increase from the 313 recorded in February, according to the Bedford-based New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority. March foreclosure deeds have been up over the previous month in each of the last four years, the agency said.The March 2012 figures are a 33 percent decrease from the 543 foreclosure deeds recorded in March 2011, though figures were artificially high that month because of the then-recent expiration of a foreclosure moratorium initiated by several large lenders in the fall of 2010.About 5 percent fewer foreclosure deeds were recorded in the first quarter of 2012 than there were in 2011, and almost 15 percent fewer than were recorded in the same quarter 2010. Whether the decrease is sign of an improving trend in the state’s foreclosure market still remains to be seen, though.”This apparent decrease in foreclosure activity may be attributable in part to slowly improving economic conditions; but it also may be partly due to external pressures, and administrative and capacity constraints within servicing institutions,” said the authority. “It is too soon to determine if this trend will continue throughout the year.”In what may be a positive sign that the market is improving, there was a decline in the number of foreclosure auction notices in March, indicating the number of households that have fallen seriously behind on their mortgage payments and risk foreclosure.There were 627 foreclosure auction notices in March 2012, a 6.6 percent decrease from the 671 recorded in February and an 11 percent decrease from March 2011.”If it continues, this slow decline in foreclosure notice activity may suggest future declines in the number of foreclosure deeds.” -KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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