April 15, 2010

Foreclosures up in county; tax credit nears deadline

The number of foreclosures rose in Frederick County in March, up 56 percent from February and up 82 percent from a year ago. The latest figures, 344 foreclosures in the county, come from RealtyTrac, a California-based firm that monitors foreclosures nationwide. The company said there were 445 foreclosures in Montgomery County in March, up 34 percent from February, and 212 foreclosures in Washington County, up 95 percent from February.

The reason for the increase is because of a combination of adjustable rate mortgages, signed in 2004, 2005 and 2006, now resetting to higher permanent interest rates, said Patrick F. McLister, a Frederick lawyer. Added to that is the loss of employment income or one or both spouses and tapped personal savings accounts, he said. McLister and his law office partner, Todd Salisbury, are legal counsel to the Frederick County Association of Realtors.

Carlton Boujai, treasurer of the Maryland Association of Realtors, said the continuing number of foreclosures is the major obstacle of a full recovery for the real estate industry. The lower price for most foreclosures has brought out buyers, though, Boujai said, especially in the $250,000 or less range. Boujai, an agent with Exit Realty Prosperity Group in Frederick and a former president of the local Realtors organization, said it has brought many "on-the-fence" buyers into the purchase of a home. The federal tax credit program, offering $8,000 for first-time buyers and $6,500 for other eligible buyers, has not been as large a factor in the market as expected, Boujai said. SOURCE: Frederick News-Post

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