Posted on Friday, February 4, 2011
According to a “Face of Foreclosure” report released this week by the Nevada Association of Realtors (NVAR), nearly one in four Nevada homeowners who have lost their homes to foreclosure admit to “walking away” as part of a strategic default.
The report also revealed that most of the state’s homeowners facing foreclosure were not aware of federal and nonprofit programs designed to help them.
“With Nevada continuing to have the highest foreclosure rates in the country, we think this landmark research provides a valuable public service,” said NVAR 2010 president, Linda Rheinberger, broker and owner of One Source Realty and Management in Las Vegas. “We think this research will help the public, the real estate industry, lawmakers, and others grappling with this difficult issue.”
The report cites that 61 percent of those surveyed after experiencing or narrowly avoiding foreclosure had never heard of the federal Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) program. Only 3 percent said they used the Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program.
By their own admission, 23 percent described their situation as a strategic default. Many of those who “walked away” from their homes said they were advised by trusted confidants that a strategic default was their best option.
“As for solutions, there may not be a single cure-all, but this report suggests that we can do more to make distressed homeowners aware of the free and low-cost resources available to help them,” said Rheinberger. “It also reinforces our belief that lenders would do well to speak to their customers before foreclosing and to continue streamlining their short sale processes since short sales are one viable alternative to foreclosures.”
Mike Young, NVAR president for 2011 and a Nevada Realtor, said NVAR is working with Nevada lawmakers to seek changes that could help. According to the report, these include a mix of legislative amendments, advocacy and counseling options, and actions designed to stabilize local housing markets, such as streamlining short sales.
The report was commissioned by NVAR, utilizing information from its Nevada DataMine, and conducted by SGS, a national research firm. SGS compiled data from leading sources, held two focus groups in Las Vegas, and interviewed more than 1,000 Nevadans by phone.
By: Heather Hill Cernoch, DS NEWS