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Many Michigan homeowners still in need of debt relief

The latest foreclosure figures are out, and Michigan residents may need to put on their reading glasses to make sense of the fine print. Ever since the mortgage markets collapsed, followed by the housing crisis and the depression of 2008, individuals and families across the country have struggled for debt relief in order to maintain the roof over their heads. Many continue to struggle, and as the recent statistics show, a greater percentage of Michigan residents are in need of foreclosure defense than residents in the vast majority of other states.

First, the good news: foreclosures are down nationally from where they were a year ago. Across the country, some 3.5 percent of homes with a mortgage were in some phase of foreclosure proceedings during the month of May. That is down from the 3.4 percent figure that existed for May of 2011. Likewise, there were about 63,000 homes nationally subject to completed foreclosure proceedings in May. While that is a slight uptick from April (62,000), it is a reduction of some 14,000 proceedings from May of 2011.

According to CoreLogic, a firm that tracks foreclosure statistics, there have been some 3.6 million completed foreclosures since the financial crisis took hold in 2008. That is, by any count, a staggering number of individuals and families whose lives were substantially impacted by a difficult economy. While the slight downward tick may offer a ray of hope that the housing crisis will soon turn a corner, in Michigan we're still not quite sure which corner that will be.

There are five states who have recorded more foreclosures than all the others. Michigan, unfortunately, is one of them. And as if that little dose of reality wasn't enough, CoreLogic says that those five states (California, Florida, Texas and Georgia are the others) accounted for almost one half of all completed foreclosures in the last year. Clearly, many Michigan families are in need of debt relief, which may be achieved through bankruptcy protection. Bankruptcy may be a means of stopping or preventing a foreclosure, or it could allow families to simply get out from under an upside down mortgage and start anew.

Source: Reuters, "Completed U.S. foreclosures edge up in May-report," June 29, 2012

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