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Mortgage foreclosure sales down significantly

The number of pre-foreclosure notices continues to drop significantly in the Twin Cities, including Dakota County.

During the first half of 2013 the number of completed sheriff’s sales, the final step of the foreclosure process in Minnesota, has fallen to the lowest level since the beginning of the housing crisis. Statewide, there were 6,795 foreclosures in the first two quarters of 2013. This number is 29 percent less than the same period of 2012.

For Dakota County, the number of pre-foreclosure notices for April, May and June was 588, compared to 790 for the same time period a year ago, a 25.6 percent decrease.

There was greater decline seen in the Twin Cities metro area — down 33 percent — than in Greater Minnesota — down 23 percent.

The “2013 Semi-Annual Foreclosures in Minnesota” report was released Aug. 15 by the Minnesota Homeownership Center using research provided by HousingLink and adds to other recent evidence showing that fewer Minnesota homeowners are struggling with mortgage payments than at any time since 2006.

While more than 1,100 homes each month were lost to foreclosure in the first half of the year, this number is a drastic change in comparison to 2010, when Minnesota was experiencing the worst of the housing collapse. During the first half of 2010, lenders were auctioning off more than 2,100 homes each month.

“Modest improvements in Minnesota’s economy and increasing home prices, combined with improvements in how banks and lenders deal with struggling homeowners are positively impacting the number of homes lost to foreclosure,” stated Ed Nelson, Marketing and Communications manager for the Minnesota Homeownership Center. “We see signs of the overall economy improving as well as a willingness on the part of lenders and services to work with struggling homeowners before they enter the foreclosure process.

“However, while the most recent data is encouraging, we can’t lose sight of the fact homes are still being lost to foreclosure at rates that exceed twice those of historic levels.”

Founded in 1993, the Minnesota Homeownership Center is celebrating 20 years of promoting successful homeownership throughout the state and has been one of the state’s primary responders to the foreclosure crisis.