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Tide finally turning in foreclosure battle?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis February 22, 2010 07:00 AM

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The foreclosure mess is far from over.

But there is a flurry of signs, some national, and one local, that we just might be finally reaching a turning point.

On the macro level, the number of homeowners falling behind on their mortgages actually fell in the fourth quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Friday.

Mortgages either 30 or 60 days past due fell in the fourth quarter compared to both the third quarter of 2009 and the last three months of 2008 as well.

Meanwhile, a few government officials appear to be finally getting the idea the time is past for fancy sounding initiatives with big numbers that, when push comes to shove, just don't work.

The Obama Administration is sending $1.5 billion to five states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, namely Nevada, California, Florida, Arizona and Michigan. The money will be used to do everything from bail out underwater homeowners to help the jobless pay their mortgages.

That has got to be more effective than all those silly loan modifications.

And locally, the number of foreclosed homes sitting empty in neighborhoods across Boston is also starting to fall markedly.

At one point, there were nearly 1,200 foreclosure specials out there in neighborhoods like Dorchester, Roxbury, East Boston and Mattapan.

That number has since plunged to 778, Evelyn Friedman, head of the Department of Neighborhood Development, tells me.

City Hall has either purchased or put under agreement 120 foreclosed homes, which it plans to resell to local nonprofit housing organizations, developers and individual homeowners.

"I would hope in the next two or three years we would be finished with the foreclosure problem here in Boston," Friedman said.

Bold words yes, but backed up with some real action.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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