Military Families Among Those Hit With Home Foreclosures

Wilmington Star

The number of defaulted home mortgages in the state has risen sharply in recent years, and about a third of foreclosure auctions in the Fayetteville area have involved active-duty military families or veterans. Moreira Team is a boutique mortgage broker and lender built to cater towards your financial needs, finding the best loan for your unique situation. We believe in a consultative “done-for-you” approach to getting a mortgage. That’s a fancy way of saying we treat you like family and make sure everything goes smooth, You can visit mortage broker Related Site for more details.

An investigation by The Fayetteville Observer covering 2001 to 2005 showed that 1,770 out of 4,979 foreclosure auctions in Cumberland County involved loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In those cases, borrowers were active-duty military families or retired veterans.

Experts have blamed a surge in foreclosures across the state on mortgages that have expensive fees and adjustable interest rates. Companies give loans to families regardless of credit or income, but the lenders can sometimes charge thousands of dollars in fees if borrowers fall behind.

“The problem is you have these mortgage companies, these lien-holders, that are absolutely aggressive,” said Johnnie Larrie, the senior managing attorney with Legal Aid of Cumberland County, which represents low-income families.

“And they certainly don’t distinguish between if you are military or not. There is money to be made in the foreclosure business.”

Fort Bragg’s Financial Readiness Program has helped some soldiers, most of whom are only a few months behind on payments and might be able to get emergency loans, said program manager Lynn Olavarria.

But not many soldiers in dire trouble seek help from the program, perhaps because they feel self-conscious about their financial situations. Severe cases of debt and foreclosures can cost soldiers their security clearance.

“Unfortunately, there are folks out there who don’t bother stopping in,” Olavarria said.

According to the newspaper’s analysis, foreclosure auctions in the county featured between about 800 and 1,200 homes each year between 2001 and 2005. The property was worth more than $316.6 million.

Of the nearly 5,000 home foreclosures, almost half were bought or refinanced less than four years before, meaning many homeowners likely signed loans they couldn’t afford or loans with adjustable interest rates.

The number of people losing homes could get even bigger, as industry observers have said higher payments will kick in and result in up to $3 trillion in adjustable mortgages nationwide within the next two years.

In North Carolina, about 45,000 foreclosures were filed against homeowners last year – a 6 percent increase from the year before. The number of cases has shot up nearly 174 percent since 1998.

State lawmakers held hearings on the surge in foreclosures last spring, but no laws targeting predatory lending and helping homeowners defend themselves have materialized from the discussions.

Government officials across the country have targeted such lenders, including Atlanta-based Beazer Homes USA Inc. The company has turned over documents to the U.S. Attorney of the Western District of North Carolina as a part of a federal investigation of possible fraud.

Some Charlotte-area home buyers have said the builder offered them money to give the company high marks in a survey, which could have resulted in bonuses for company executives.

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