Brick Township’s foreclosure rate is nearly double the state average and five times as high as the national average, leading Brick officials to contract with a firm that will handle record-keeping for the purposes of code enforcement and property maintenance issues for bank-owned properties.
Brick’s rate, according to RealtyTrac, was .28, almost double the state’s .16 average and more than five times higher than the national average of .05. Scott Blaise, a representative from Community Champions, the company that was awarded the contract, said there were 1,300 homes in Brick that are either in danger of being foreclosed upon or are already in the foreclosure process. For comparative purposes, the same metric applied to Jersey City – a municipality of 270,000 – translates into 2,200 properties.
“The current rates of foreclosure are still a little higher than the rest of the country, but it’s coming back towards normal,” Blaise said, highlighting that Brick is among the top 10 towns for foreclosures in New Jersey.
Community Champions will keep records and track the status of foreclosure proceedings in town so township officials can enforce ordinances that require banks to register with the township and comply with a number of property maintenance and code enforcement measures. The company will be paid through the registration fees, meaning the township will not directly pay the company out of taxpayer-provided funds.
RealtyTrac shows one in every 363 homes in Brick is in some stage of the foreclosure process. While pre-foreclosures are down 51 percent in Brick from last year, the number of bank-owned properties has doubled, the data shows.
A report from NJ Spotlight, a public policy news website, New Jersey’s foreclosure rate is significantly higher than the national average because its economy did not roar back with the rest of the nation. Median family income rose about 5.2 percent elsewhere in 2015, the last year for which data is available, but New Jersey residents’ incomes only rose 0.3 percent. The same report projected an uncertain future for New Jersey homeowners, with federal mortgage relief programs already starting to end.