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Dakota County's mortgage foreclosures dropped by 18 percent in 2015

The number of homes lost to foreclosure in Minnesota is at its lowest level since 2005, according to a recently-released report from the Minnesota Homeownership Center. There is also good news for Dakota County as well.

The report, titled “Foreclosures in Minnesota,” identified a total of 7,212 foreclosures in Minnesota in 2015, a drop of more than 13 percent from 2014. That number was 8,313.

For Dakota County the number of foreclosures in 2015 was reported at 555, an 18-percent decrease from the 680 foreclosures

The report analyzes sheriff’s sale data, the primary means of identifying foreclosures, from all Minnesota counties.

“We’re seeing a combination of events that are having a positive impact on the number of foreclosures,” said Ed Nelson of the Minnesota Homeownership Center. “Foreclosure prevention efforts across the state, combined with improvements in how banks and servicers deal with struggling homeowners and slow improvements in the overall economy are allowing more homeowners to avoid losing their homes.”

Foreclosures in Minnesota take place at the county level and are regulated for the most part, by state legislation. The foreclosure process can start as early as 30 days after a borrower first misses a mortgage payment. Once the mortgage is in delinquency, the lender empowers an attorney who files notice of pendency (being pending) against the occupant, starting the foreclosure process. Shortly thereafter, the attorney publishes a foreclosure sale in a local newspaper and the county sheriff services the filing to the occupant. At any point before the sheriff's sale, the property owner can reinstate the mortgage by paying all dues, fees and expenses.

After the notice has been published and served, the sheriff's sale occurs and the sheriff auctions the property off to the highest bidder, resulting in foreclosure of the mortgage.

There is a redemption period of up to six months during which the borrower can redeem the property by paying the amount of sale plus interest, taxes, fees or liens on the property.

There are a number of programs which can help homeowners. The Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) free assistance to Dakota County homeowners who may be facing foreclosure or who are already in foreclosure.

Foreclosure Process in Minnesota Homeowners work one-on-one with the CDA’s trained homeownership specialists to assess their situation and determine possible solutions. Homeowners work with the CDA’s homeownership specialists to implement an action plan. This includes an in-depth look at the homeowner’s finances to develop a budget for the future.

The Mortgage Foreclosure Counseling Program provides free counseling assistance to help homeowners who are in or nearing foreclosure with referrals to additional resources and, in some cases, financial assistance. Homeowners work one-on-one with the CDA homeownership specialists to assess the situation and determine possible solutions.

Applicants must be a resident of Dakota County and be committed to solving their financial problems with long-term solutions.

Additional information is available at 651-675-4555, or visit www.dakotacda.org.

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