N.H. foreclosures soared to close out 2011

The number of foreclosure deeds filed in New Hampshire spiked in December 2011, bringing the total number of foreclosures for the year to just below the record set in 2010.Some 3,863 foreclosures were recorded in New Hampshire in 2011, down just 2 percent from the 3,953 in 2010, according to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.When it released its November figures last month, the authority predicted that foreclosures would decrease about 6.5 percent from 2010. But the December figures revealed that the number of foreclosures had spiked in the final month of the year.In December 2011, there were 368 foreclosure deeds recorded — a 35 percent increase from the 273 recorded in November and an 81 percent increase from the 203 deeds recorded in December 2010.The authority said the large year-over-year jump is somewhat deceptive, since many major mortgage lenders had placed a moratorium on foreclosure proceedings from the end of October 2010 through February 2011, resulting in a reduced number of foreclosures during that time.Thus, it said, a better comparison is made by looking at the December figures against the same month in 2008 and 2009, in which there were 330 and 315, respectively.On the brighter side, the number of foreclosure auction notices — which indicate households that are on the brink of foreclosure — decreased 19 percent from the previous month, from 709 in November to 576 in December.And year over year, there were about 19 percent fewer foreclosure auction notices recorded in 2011 than the previous year, a positive sign that could suggest future declines in foreclosure deeds, it said. — KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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