According to ATTOM Data Solutions, U.S. foreclosures fell to a 13-year low in the third quarter of 2019. Q3 represented the 12th consecutive quarter in which foreclosures nationwide were at or below pre-recession rates. In Nevada, foreclosures were down 4.56% compared with the previous quarter, and more than 41% year-over-year.
The slowing of foreclosures isn’t the only development in the housing market. Earlier this fall, CoreLogic reported that home prices had increased 3.5% year-over-year. While that increase reflected a significant slowing in the increase in value of one-to-four-family housing units, it also continued a trend toward higher housing values. And, while that increase means that home buyers will pay more, it also means that fewer and fewer current homeowners remain “underwater.” That is, fewer homeowners owe more in mortgage debt than their homes are worth.
In 2012, more than 12,500,000 residential properties nationwide were underwater–27.8% of mortgaged homes. By Q1 of 2019, that number had dropped to just over 5,200,000, or 9.1% of properties. In Nevada, the improvements were even more dramatic. Between Q2 2018 and Q2 2019, the average homeowner in the U.S. gained about $5,000 in equity. But, in Nevada, the average gain was about $17,000. That’s the third largest gain among U.S. states.
Foreclosure Filings in Nevada
Despite the decline in foreclosures and the increase in average home equity in the state, many homeowners in Nevada are still struggling with mortgage debt delinquency and foreclosure filings. According to RealtyTrac, the current foreclosure rate in Clark County is 1 in 1,344. The rate varies considerably by city: in Las Vegas, the foreclosure rate is less than 1 in 2,000, while in Henderson it is more than 1 in 500.
If you are a homeowner in Las Vegas and the surrounding area whose mortgages is delinquent or you are facing foreclosure, it’s important that you understand your options. And, the sooner you have that information, the more able you will be to make measured decisions about how best to move forward in your specific circumstances.
Options for Homeowners Who Have Fallen Behind
The best way to manage delinquent mortgage debt depends on your situation and your goals. Often, the first question to be answered is whether or not you want to keep your home. While many people automatically try to save their homes, it isn’t always the best financial decision. If you’ve been struggling to pay mortgage debt, your assessment should begin with determining not just whether saving your home is possible, but whether it is the best option for you.
If you determine that you are willing to let your home go to improve your overall financial situation, some possible options include:
- Selling the property and paying off your mortgage loan with the proceeds
- Negotiating for a short sale, if the equity in your home is insufficient to pay off the mortgage loan
- Negotiating for a deed in lieu of foreclosure
- Surrendering your home in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, ensuring that you will not be liable for any deficiency balance
- Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after foreclosure, to eliminate the obligation to pay any deficiency balance
An attorney experienced in handling mortgage default and foreclosure issues can be an invaluable resource in making this decision, since the average person will not be aware of the many factors to be weighed. For example, some Nevada homeowners are protected by law from deficiency judgments, which would eliminate the need for a bankruptcy solely to address the remaining balance on the mortgage loan. But, the right solution will take into account your broader circumstances. If your financial issues extend beyond mortgage debt, bankruptcy may offer other benefits.
If you want to keep your home, there are a number of possible options, depending on how far along in the foreclosure process you are, your ability to make mortgage payments, and other factors.
Depending on your situation, these solutions may result in reduction in principal balance, lowered monthly payments, substantially increased time to pay past-due balances, a change in interest rate, and a variety of other accommodations that can make your mortgage debt more manageable so you can get back on track.
The attorneys at Haines & Krieger have experience in each of these approaches to saving your home, and will work with you to identify and implement the best strategy for you. Timing can be critical in mortgage-related cases, so the sooner you take action, the better. You can schedule a free consultation right now by calling 702-903-1459 or filling out the contact form on this site.