September 12, 2008

Foreclosures Dip in County, Remain High


Clark County's foreclosure rate was down in August from the prior month, but still well above the August 2007 level.

A total of 292 foreclosures were filed in the county last month, down from 315 in July, according to RealtyTrac, a California real estate data firm. But Clark County's August total was up more than 114 percent from the 136 foreclosures filed during the same month last year.

The county's foreclosures accounted for 9.2 percent of the 3,172 foreclosures filed statewide last month.

Washington had the 21st-highest foreclosure rate out of 50 states, reported RealtyTrac, which incorporates data filed during several stages of foreclosure. Oregon ranked No. 22.

Numerous factors could have caused the one-month decline in the local foreclosure total and does not necessarily indicate the start of a trend, said Tim Duy, an economics professor at the University of Oregon.

"One month of data is not going to signal the end of the foreclosure crisis," Duy said, adding that many banks have been accused of slowing the pace of foreclosures to prevent overloading their books with bad loans.

"Housing markets tend to stagnate for a long period of time before they begin to recover," he said.


Across Clark County, 2,191 houses entered foreclosure from January through August, nearly three times the total of 763 foreclosures filed during the same period in 2007.

One out of every 535 homes were in foreclosure here in August, compared with one in 851 households statewide and one out of 416 homes throughout the U.S. In Oregon, it was one in 857.

Rising foreclosure rates have been fueled by slowing home sales, as potential home buyers wait out the market, expecting prices to drop, said Carol Sundstrom, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Barbara Sue Seal Properties in Vancouver.

"They (buyers) fear entering the market or think they should wait," Sundstrom said. "And that's why the problem continues."

According to RMLS, the region's multiple listing service. there were 5,402 new and pre-owned homes for sale in Clark County in July, representing a supply of 12.7 months, if no more homes were added to the market.

County August Foreclosures

Year__ Total

2008 __ 219

2007 __ 136

2006 __ 57

2005 __ 71

Source: RealtyTrac, Irvine, Calif.

Cami Joner covers real estate for The Columbian. She can be reached at 360-735-4532 or via e-mail at [email protected]

Originally published by CAMI JONER Columbian staff writer - Source: RealtyTrac, Irvine, Calif..

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