Forecloses rise across Tulsa in 2012
BY ROBERT EVATT World Staff Writer
Friday, January 18, 2013
1/18/13 at 7:03 AM
As the economy and housing market improves, the national press has been running fewer stories on foreclosures. But a new report indicates that the danger of losing a home still looms over many Tulsans.
Data service RealtyTrac Inc. reports that 5,656 foreclosures were filed in metro Tulsa last year, resulting in a foreclosure rate of one for every 72 households. The rate is 3.8 percent above 2011 but 29.6 percent below 2010.
Metro Tulsa's rate is also exactly the same as the yearly national average, although that rate was down 2.7 percent from 2011 and was 36 percent lower than 2010.
Margo Mitchell, president and CEO of Consumer Credit Counseling Centers of Oklahoma, said the number of people coming to her organization for help keeping their homes has dropped somewhat, but there's still a lot of work to be done.
"We're seeing improvement, but it's not a quick turnaround," she said. "It'll take us a while to work through the entire process."
Mitchell said one possible contributor to relatively steady rates of foreclosure is the massive amount of foreclosures the banks have had to process over the last few years. That backlog slowed things - but not anymore.
"We're not seeing many banks taking a long time to take action," she said. "It's sped up."
The chief cause of financial problems severe enough to threaten the loss of a home remains a sudden loss of income, either due to job loss or an unexpected cutback in hours, Mitchell said.
Despite the improvement in 2012, the 1,273 foreclosures recorded in December gave metro Tulsa a rate that was down 14.9 percent from November and 18.8 percent lower than December 2011.
Oklahoma's 2012 foreclosure rate of one for every 134 households is up 3.4 percent from 2011 but down 29.7 percent from 2010.
The state now has the 33rd highest foreclosure rate in the nation. Among metro areas, Tulsa is 82nd.
Mitchell said that in her experience, borrowers facing foreclosure will likely find themselves stuck for quite a while.
"When we're working with a family trying to prevent foreclosure, it's an extremely time-consuming process," she said.
"It's not that someone can get an answer in 30 days; it usually takes six to 12 months."
Mitchell stressed that the best way to avoid foreclosure is to seek help as soon as financial problems arise.
Original Print Headline: Foreclosure remains threat for many
Robert Evatt 918-581-8447