Foreclosure activity hits low point

The number of homes lost to foreclosure in Minnesota has fallen to the lowest level since tracking of these numbers began in 2006, according to a new report from the Minnesota Homeownership Center.

The report, titled “Foreclosures in Minnesota,” identified a total of 5,306 foreclosures in Minnesota in 2016, a decrease of 26 percent from 2015. To put this number in perspective, there were more than 26,000 foreclosures in Minnesota in both 2008 and 2010 at the height of the housing crisis.

Meanwhile, similar trends are playing out in area counties.

In Sherburne County, there were 134 foreclosures in 2016, a 26 percent drop over a year earlier. Wright County saw 135 foreclosures in 2016, a 34 percent decrease.

Both counties, however, remain in the top 10 counties in the state with the highest number of foreclosures, according to the report. Wright ranks eighth, and Sherburne, ninth.

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

Ed Nelson of the Minnesota Homeownership Center said several factors are having a positive impact on the number of foreclosures.

“Foreclosure prevention efforts across the state, combined with improvements in how banks and servicers deal with struggling homeowners and recent home value increases are allowing more homeowners to either avoid losing their homes to foreclosure or to sell without having to bring additional money to the table,” Nelson said.

While the numbers are positive, some homeowners are still struggling. Nelson encourages them to seek help.

To find a free local foreclosure specialist, visit www.hocmn.org or call the Minnesota Homeownership Center at 866-462-6466.

To view a copy of the 2016 Foreclosures in Minnesota report, go to www.hocmn.org /reports-resources.