Wisconsin foreclosures up in August

Foreclosures in the state have been on a steady decline since January, but increased in August by 5 percent to 1,848, according to a new report from ForeclosuresWI.com.

In January, the state had 2,443 foreclosures. In July, the state had 1,762 foreclosures. Year-to-date, Wisconsin has had 16,139 foreclosures, which is about 25 percent higher than the first eight months of 2007.

Despite the decline since January, the average monthly foreclosure rate in 2008 has been 2,017, up significantly compared to the average monthly foreclosure rate of 965 in 2003 for the state.

"Wisconsin foreclosures have been building up to the current levels for the past three years," said Robert Jansen, president of ForeclosuresWI.com. "While new foreclosure filings appear to be leveling off, monthly filings remain over double what they were just five years ago."

Foreclosures in the state, and the rest of the nation, shot up in 2007 and 2008, as many homeowners who had received subprime adjustable rate mortgages were unable to make their payments when the interest rates on their mortgages adjusted upward.

The foreclosure crisis in Wisconsin appears to have peaked in January, but it will take a while to return to normal levels, Jansen said.

"While there have been some indications that foreclosure filings may be reaching their peak, it will take time for these properties to get through the system," he said.

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