Foreclosure rates nationwide dropped in 2011 from the year before, but due to factors such as back logged court systems and problems with paperwork, many 2011 foreclosures weren’t completed. As a result, 2011 foreclosure rates were down, but as cases are completed, the rate of 2012 is expected to rise to a truer depiction of the real levels of foreclosures.

“Foreclosures were in full delay mode in 2011, resulting in a dramatic drop in foreclosure activity for the year,” Brandon Moore, CEO of RealityTrac, a national company that tracks and owns the largest database on foreclosed homes, said in a statement.

Other factors adding to the low 2011 foreclosure rate include issues with big banks that halted all foreclosure processes due to issues that arose from “robo-signing,” or banks approving foreclosures without actually fact-checking each case.

Homeowners around the nation are also expected to lower the mortgage delinquency rate as they choose to strategically let their homes enter foreclosure in 2012.

Zillow, another national real estate company, reported in late 2011 that nearly 28.8 percent of all homeowners in America owed more on their homes to the bank than they were actually worth—many of those banks being the same institutions that were bailed out with taxpayer money.

According to RealtyTrac, last year 1 in every 2,027 homes went on the market due to foreclosure, with roughly 1,153 Maryland homes sitting on the market empty in December.

Leading the foreclosure crisis, Arizona, California and Nevada continued to rank as the states with the highest rates of Americans and their families being put on the street amid a brutal recession.

Initiatives to combat the rise in foreclosures by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2012 include the Home Affordable Modification Program, which gives home owners a chance to lower mortgage payment by as much as 31 percent.

Homeowners in Maryland are advised to take advantage of mediation opportunities, which are available to anyone who files paperwork for the process within 25 days of being served a final foreclosure notice. The option of mediation, which became mandatory in 2010, carries with it a $50 fee to file for the process in Circuit Court. Mediation between banks and delinquent owners may give homeowners a chance to turn to other options, such as reworking loan agreements, instead of foreclosing.

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer