Minnesota Foreclosure Snapshot

The Minneapolis / St. Paul metropolitan area ranks as one of the most active in the nation in the number of delinquent or at-risk home mortgages. It is also one of the areas with among the most mortgages modified under the Obama Administration’s Homes Affordable Modification Program. 11,627 Twin Cities Metro area mortgages have been modified under the program through November, making it the 13th most active metropolitan area. Minnesota, as a whole, ranks 18th among the states, with 14,154 loans modified, or about 2% of the total. That bodes well for the area, as it will hopefully prevent more homes from going into foreclosure.

Nationwide, about 1.7 million homeowners were on the verge of foreclosure in the fall. Those homes will be put up for sale in the coming years and weigh down prices. Up from 1.1 million in 2008, is likely to keep rising through the middle of next year or later.

Not only do the vacant homes flood the market with inventory and hold down prices, they can become eyesores as lawns become overgrown and dangerous if they attract the attention of local riff-raff. Confounding the problem is redemption. Redemption in Minnesota is usually a six-month period following a sheriff's sale during which the people who owned the house can buy it back. Redemption poses a problem for cities because if a home winds up vacant or vandalized during that time, the homeowner and bank can deny responsibility, putting the burden of fixing it on the city. As we know, cities are already strapped and facing budget troubles, so it takes time and money with which communities are already having trouble.

Cities keep lists of foreclosed homes and try to track which ones are empty. Neighbors are notified and asked to call if they see anything unusual. City staff often try to occasionally view the properties as well. If you see a property that appears abandoned and run down, contact your city administrator to report it.

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