Lenders Continue to Initiate Foreclosure Process in Alabama
A big number of lenders continued initiating foreclosure process cases against properties in Alabama last year. Several local markets in the state recorded foreclosure rate increases, while mortgage delinquencies also surged in most areas. Unemployment was cited as the primary factor behind the surge in foreclosures. Foreclosure listings in Montgomery and in other cities of Alabama increased last year, but one area that posted one of the biggest increases in foreclosure rates in the state was Mobile. The metro area's foreclosure rate in 2010 was 1.79%, up 28% compared with the 2009 rate. One household out of every 56 housing units was under foreclosure in Mobile in 2010. According to housing market observers, the increase was largely due to high unemployment levels. More properties were included in Alabama Foreclosure Listings last year as the economy of the region took a beating after industries like construction and real estate declined. In Mobile, job losses increased in 2010 as the Gulf oil spill affected the fish and seafood business. The metro region's unemployment rate was 10.1% as of November 2010, but it surged to 12.6% during the start of last year. This was a huge jump, given that the unemployment rate of the city three years earlier was less than 3%. Economists stated that the impact of the foreclosure process and the recession has hit Mobile later than other metro regions in the U.S. However, they stated that things have started to get better by the end of 2010 as hiring activities had started to escalate at that time. They revealed that the ship building market is contributing to job creation as well as the development of a steel factory estimated to be worth more than $5 billion. Foreclosed homes are still relatively higher than other key markets of Alabama, but overbuilding has been stopped and supply is starting to get level with demand. However, the new home building market is still down, which resulted in major job losses for construction employees. Analysts expect more foreclosure process to be initiated against properties in 2011 as delinquencies started rising again last year. Mobile was ranked 92nd in 2010 among 206 metropolitan areas in the U.S. in terms of foreclosure rate.