Mortgage foreclosures in 7-country region in southeastern Wisconsin drop to 7-year low

  • Updated: July 12, 2013 - 11:10 AM

MILWAUKEE — Mortgage foreclosure filings in a seven-county region in southeastern Wisconsin have dropped to their lowest one-month total in seven years, court records showed.

Foreclosure filings in Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties totaled 520 in June, a decrease of more than 41 percent compared to the same month last year, according to court records.

For the first half of the year, 3,707 foreclosure actions were filed in the seven-county region, down more than 37 percent from the first six months of 2012.

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater economics professor Russell Kashian tracks residential real estate in Wisconsin. He tells the Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1dn2dJG ) the foreclosure crisis is probably over, given the latest numbers

He noted, however, that even though foreclosure filings are down, some homeowners are still on the brink of losing their homes and could fall into foreclosure before they can sell if rising interest rates reduce affordability and the number of potential buyers.

"I think rising interest rates will slow down the sale of houses. And that concerns me because there are still houses on the bubble that people are trying to get out of," Kashian said.

Nationally, lenders began foreclosure proceedings in June on the fewest U.S. homes for any month in 7½ years. Foreclosure starts are on pace to reach roughly 800,000 this year, down from 1.1 million last year, according to the real estate research firm DataTrac Inc.

The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week to 4.51 percent, a two-year high. Rates have been rising on expectations that the Federal Reserve will slow its bond purchases this year.

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