N.H. notches third-lowest foreclosure rate

While industry analysts say the housing market is beginning to slow down, New Hampshire homeowners are among the most solvent in the nation when it comes to making their mortgage payments, according to a new report.

The Granite State had the third-lowest percentage of foreclosures among all 50 states and Washington, D.C., behind Maine and Vermont.

A report released by RealtyTrac, a provider of national real estate marketing data, showed New Hampshire ranked 49th out of 51, with 13 properties in some stage of foreclosure during the month of May 2006. This represents one foreclosure for approximately every 42,000 households.

While the numbers are upbeat, the data does represent a slight increase in foreclosures for the month of May 2006 of just over 8 percent from April 2006, and an increase of nearly 19 percent from May 2005.

The national average for May 2006 was one foreclosure for every 1,247 households, representing an increase of nearly 2 percent from April 2006 and a 28 percent increase from May 2005.

Vermont had the smallest amount of properties in foreclosure proceedings with four. Maine was close behind with six properties in foreclosure. Maine also had the most significant monthly drop in foreclosures nationally, falling over 53 percent in May 2006 from April 2006.

Colorado had the highest number of foreclosures, with 4,198 properties in some form of proceedings – one foreclosure for every 438 households.

Rhode Island had the highest yearly rate change of 910 percent increase from May 2005, with its ratio of foreclosures to households at one per 4,355.

“Our May numbers echo the recent report by the Mortgage Bankers Association, which noted that delinquency and default activities were lower in the first quarter of 2006,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “While our report confirms that the number of properties entering foreclosure is still significantly higher than it was during the same period of 2005, we’ve now seen two months of decreasing foreclosure rates followed by May numbers that were essentially flat. That three-month trend indicates foreclosure activity has stabilized in most housing markets across the country after spiking sharply at the beginning of this year.” — CINDY KIBBE

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