• 50°

Editorial: Foreclosures surge in N.C.

After recording a slight dip in previous years, the number of home foreclosure filings in North Carolina spiked in 2006, according to state figures. That’s a somber reminder of the challenge facing affordable-housing advocates in Rowan County and elsewhere who are trying to help more low- and moderate-income residents obtain — and hold on to — their piece of the American dream.

Housing and loan experts say there are several factors behind the foreclosure trend, including buyers who take on more debt than they can handle, especially those with blemished credit records who are enticed by subprime loans that carry high and adjustable-rate mortgages. First-time buyers who may initially be able to afford their mortgage payments also can begin to flounder if they accumulate mounds of other debt, especially through credit cards. Obviously, job losses can also bring on financial crisis, as well.

Whatever the factors driving the surge, it’s affecting areas across the state, and it reflects a continuation of patterns the Post documented locally in a 2005 series examining foreclosures in Rowan and Cabarrus counties. That series found that foreclosures in those two counties increased 375 percent between 1998 and 2004. While the shutdown of Pillowtex and other manufacturing losses accounted for some of the foreclosures, many others stemmed from buyers who had fallen victim to rising loan payments that locked them into higher housing expenses than they could afford.

According to data cited recently in the Charlotte Observer, Mecklenburg County had the state’s highest foreclosure rate in 2006, with 35 filings per each 1,000 homeowners. Cabarrus County ranks 12th among N.C. counties, with 23 filings per 1,000 homeowners and Iredell is 14th, with 21 filings per 1,000 homeowners. Rowan ranks 28th, with 19 filings per each 1,000 homeowners in 2006. As it turns out, that ratio coincides with the state average, and it represents a dip in the foreclosure surge we were experiencing only a couple of years ago.

Reducing the foreclosure rate involves better consumer education so that buyers know the true debt burden that lies ahead. It also involves more stringent legislation to guard against outright deception, which the state legislature has promised to explore this session. It also requires support for local programs such as the Salisbury Community Development Corp. and the HOME investment partnership program that counsel consumers on home loans and help make affordable home and low-interest loans more widely available. Last year, the county signaled its concern about affordable housing with a $25,000 grant to help bolster Prosperity Unlimited, a non-profit housing development organization that serves low-income residents in East Spencer.

Foreclosures are a devastating financial blow for individuals. They also can disrupt communities and hasten the decline of neighborhoods. The foreclosure trend in North Carolina shows greater efforts are needed at all levels to help buyers find homes they can afford and manage their debts more wisely.

Comments

Comments closed.

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 deaths, 166 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

News

Iredell County votes to move Confederate memorial to cemetery

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month