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Foreclosures: How Long is the Wait Time?

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Banks are absolutely saturated with foreclosures and short sales that may eventually become foreclosures. One short sale expert in my community once described the conditions in a short sale office: “papers stacked high to the ceiling, all files of home owner’s waiting to hear back on either an offer to sell their property or for permission to proceed with a short sale.” No wonder short sales are anything but short.

So how long is the wait to have your property foreclosed on by your bank? Well, here are some snapshot figures from different states as reported by the New York Times in their article on the Foreclosure Backlog.

In New York State, it would take lenders 62 years at their current pace, the longest time frame in the nation, to repossess the 213,000 houses now in severe default or foreclosure, according to calculations by LPS Applied Analytics, a prominent real estate data firm.

Clearing the pipeline in New Jersey, which like New York handles foreclosures through the courts, would take 49 years. In Florida, Massachusetts and Illinois, it would take a decade.

In the 27 states where the courts play no role in foreclosures, the pace is much more brisk — three years in California, two years in Nevada and Colorado — but the dynamic is the same: the foreclosure system is bogged down by the volume of cases, borrowers are fighting to keep their houses and many lenders seem to be in no hurry to add repossessed houses to their books.

Here’s a graph of the average wait time:

“If you were in foreclosure four years ago, you were biting your nails, asking yourself, ‘When is the sheriff going to show up and put me on the street?’ ” said Herb Blecher, an LPS senior vice president. “Now you’re probably not losing any sleep.”

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