One of the bright spots in real estate this year is the consistently low numbers of foreclosure documents being recorded. We're on a pace in 2014 to record 156 for the year. In 2013 we recorded 150. Compared to the 602 foreclosure deeds recorded in 2008, those figures look pretty good. But if we look back to the time before the housing bubble inflated and then burst, we can see that today's foreclosure rates remain inflated. For instance, in 2001 there were 44 foreclosures, in 2002 there were 45; and in 2003 there were 42.
Of the foreclosures already recorded this year, 72 were for property in Lowell. The majority of them - 83% - were of mortgages that were originated in 2007 or earlier which is when housing values were at their inflated peaks. A little fewer than half of these mortgages were used to purchase the property while 54% were refinancings, mortgages obtained after the property was obtained by the owner. Sadly, in eight of these cases the homeowner had obtained title through gift or inheritance meaning that he or she did not have to pay anything to acquire the property. These mortgages were all used to extract equity from the properties.
Thus far in 2014 there have already been 326 orders of notice recording which suggests that foreclosures will continue to be with us into 2015.