Foreclosures up in Connecticut

Foreclosure filings in Connecticut rose 54.5% in 1st qtr 2008 compared to 1st qtr 2007.

We sold our house in Connecticut recently. The area we were in, the Farmington River Valley outside of Hartford, is mostly unaffected by the current collapse in real estate. We sold the house for a bit more than we paid for it 16 months ago. But if foreclosures are up sharply, one wonders how much longer prices there can continue to rise.

Ballaro said he thinks the biggest obstacle is financing. Lenders, stung by loans that went bad, have tightened their standards, he said. Two deals Ballaro was working on fell through at the last minute because of financing.

Our escrow closed 16 days late, and much of the reason was extreme scrutiny by the mortgage company and bank. They check and double-check everything now and are in no rush whatsoever. It’s not 2005 anymore, when seemingly anyone who could sign their name got a no-money-down no-docs mortage, no questions asked.

While our move to Connecticut didn’t work out as planned for a number of reasons, it did save the equity in our house. We sold our home in Los Angeles in Jan 2007, just before the bottom dropped out. Had we stayed in L.A., that equity would be gone. And for that, Sue and I will always be grateful to the Farmington River Valley.

We rent an apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area now. No more real estate for a while! We, by dint of blind luck more than anything, have dodged the collapsing real estate market bullet twice (because Connecticut prices are going to fall.) It’s time to enjoy apartment living as Sue gets her Masters in Taxation.

I’d thought apartment living might be a jolt, but so far it’s great. No worries about needing a new roof in a few years or the aging furnace giving out or nosebleed property tax rates that keep going up. Plus we really like San Francisco.

  • I’m a Realtor. I also have many sayings adopted through my time in this business and my prior career of two decades in the recruiting business. Both fields, by the way, are very similar. Here’s the saying that I think of when I think of your comments.

    Life isn’t easy, but it’s simple. We screw it up when we complicate things.

    For a while there, buying and selling homes became a get rich scheme. I speak for myself, to an extent. We bought our first home in 2000 here in Fairfield, CT. We sold it in 2005. I think our profit was in the 70% neighborhood. That’s one side of the equation. The other side of the coin is all of the people that decided to get interest only, ARMS that are now coming home to roost. Both of these components got us away from reality. The present market is simplyfying.

    Here’s the good news, though. If you have good credit, if you have saved your money, it’s a GREAT time to buy. You may have a few more people looking at your paper work and it may take a bit longer, but, if you follow the rules above, you’re in great shape. The day of smoke and mirror mortgages are over.

    Trying to sell your home? Good news and bad news. The bad news is you may not sell it for what you sold your home three years ago. The good news, though, is that, if you’ve owned your home for any period of time, you’re going to make money. You’re probably even going to make a TON of money. Sad because your sale price will give you less buying power? Take heart. The homes you’re trying to buy cost less.

    There is a ton of mis information out there. If there is a hysterical tone to any of it, it’s probably not true.

  • Good points. Our realtor in LA, a long time friend, says in 4-5 years prices in that now devastated market should be much healthier. He’s also a real estate investor. He buys houses, rents them out, and owns them for years, often decades. I don’t think he’s ever flipped a house.

    Right now, he’s thinking about buying again after ten years of not buying anything.

    The problem, as you mention, often are ARMs and other resetting mortgages which force people to sell, whether they want to or not.

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