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By Eli Okun
PBN Staff Writer
By Eli Okun
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – Foreclosure totals throughout the state in the first quarter of 2013 fell to their lowest first quarter numbers since 2009, affordable homes coalition HousingWorks RI in a new report on Thursday.
Rhode Island saw 369 foreclosure deeds for residential properties filed during the first three months of the year, a 26.5 percent drop from the 502 filings during the first quarter 2012 and a 46.1 percent decrease from 2010. Foreclosure filings were down from 2012 for both single-family and multi-family homes.
The state’s highest foreclosure rates were in Central Falls, Providence — excluding the East Side —West Warwick and Woonsocket. Overall, 25 of the state’s 40 municipalities saw year-by-year decreases, while eight had increasing rates.
The overall state average for the percentage of mortgaged stock attributable to foreclosures was 0.2 percent, down from 0.9 percent during the whole year of 2012
Foreclosure rates were on the rise in Rhode Island’s “smaller, suburban and rural communities,” Jessica Cigna, HousingWorks RI research and policy associate, said in the report.
Foreclosures in Central Falls made up 0.58 percent of the city’s mortgaged stock, a decrease from the first quarter of 2012.
Other municipalities with rates above the Rhode Island average were Providence without the East Side (another year-to-year drop, falling to 0.55 percent), West Warwick, Woonsocket, North Providence, Pawtucket, Smithfield, Coventry, Glocester, Warwick and Burrillville.
On the other end of the spectrum, foreclosures in Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, New Shoreham, Newport, Portsmouth, South Kingstown and Tiverton accounted for about 0 percent of mortgaged stock, according to the report.
The HousingWorks report also found that nearly one-quarter of Rhode Island homeowners have underwater mortgages, meaning their homes are worth less than the outstanding mortgages on them. In Rhode Island, 23.4 percent of homeowners have negative equity in their homes, which is the tenth-worst rate in the nation and the highest in New England, though data for Vermont and Maine were unavailable.
Rhode Island’s rate of delinquency on loans fell to 0.97 percent in the first quarter of 2013, down 1.75 percent from the same period in 2010. This foreclosure start rate was seventh-highest nationally, though foreclosure starts do not guarantee actual foreclosures.
The report argued that one of the solutions to high foreclosure rates is boosting affordable housing: “Policymakers must recognize the importance of housing to our state’s economy and develop strategies that will ensure housing affordability over the long-term,” Cigna said in the report.