By Elliot Njus on October 10, 2013 at 3:55 PM www.oregonlive.com
Foreclosure filings plummeted in Oregon’s largest counties in September, likely in a short-lived reprieve as as lenders retool in response to legal changes in the foreclosure process.
According to numbers compiled by Gorilla Capital, a Eugene company that buys and resells distressed properties, foreclosures in the state’s largest seven counties have fallen by 42 percent from a year ago and 80 percent from a month earlier month.
The foreclosure picture has improved nationwide as fewer homeowners are falling behind on their payments. But the far greater decline in Oregon in September is probably due to an expansion of a state foreclosure mediation program that took effect that month, and a new timeline for the foreclosure process that came with it.
The new timeline requires lenders to give homeowners notice of their right to meet with their loan servicer 60 days before starting the foreclosure.
“I think it’s a temporary drop,” said Alan Brickley, an attorney and board member of the Oregon Land Title Association. “If you can’t start a foreclosure until you give notice at least 60 days before, then you can’t (start a foreclosure) in August and September.”
Prior to the new rules taking effect in August, foreclosures had been returning to levels seen in mid-2012, before the last shakeup of state foreclosure law took effect.
Nearly 1,500 foreclosure cases are headed for mediation since the rules took effect, said Jeff Manning, spokesman for the Oregon Department, which oversees the program.
The mediation program is intended to give homeowners a chance to negotiate with their lender to find an alternative to foreclosure that keeps them in the home or has a smaller impact on their credit, though the lender is not required to make any such offer.