In Whatcom County and most other places, home mortgage foreclosures have been occurring at unprecedented levels for two or three years now.
Federal efforts to help homeowners have had limited success at best, with only a fraction of homeowners getting meaningful relief from mortgage modification programs.
But as the wave of foreclosures grows and to some extent feeds on itself, we may expect to see more government action at both the state and federal level, as political pressure grows along with homeowner distress.
The Washington Post reports that Congress is expected to confront the situation this year. Key development: Giant investors are now allied, to some extent, with homeowners to force reform of mortgage lenders’ record-keeping practices.
At the state level, Washington AG Rob McKenna and his peers in other states are several months into an investigation of mortgage loan servicing practices and foreclosure procedures.
How bad is the situation in Whatcom County? My own unofficial tally for the month of December, 2010 shows 71 homes in the county got a notice of trustee’s sale — meaning the home will be auctioned by the mortgage holder within 90 days if nothing can be worked out.
At least 36 homes were actually sold in foreclosure during the month, although these are more difficult to track online than the foreclosure sale notices. In most cases, there were no bidders at the auction, and title to the home simply went back to the mortgage holder.