Foreclosure Numbers Skewed? John Helmick KEZI Interview

Are foreclosure numbers in Lane County up or down? That depends on whom you talk to.

Three different reports show very different numbers. A report out Monday by Realty Trac says Oregon foreclosures jumped 236 percent in April. Another one says they’ve increased, but only by a half of a percentage point from about this time last year. And a real estate expert in Eugene says both are misleading.

Gorilla Capital CEO John Helmick in Eugene says that 236 percent figure is technically accurate, but he says it’s because banks didn’t file any foreclosures for the past nine months, then refiled everything in April. He says they didn’t file for that stretch because the attorney general criticized banks for not properly reviewing files, so they stopped for nine months and just started back up again.

Helmick looks at county records, which he says are the most accurate. Based on those, foreclosure numbers have actually decreased 15 percent from this time last year.

“We hope to see that number increase over the course of the year. So we start out with 50 percent and then 25 percent and we’d like to see that number, personally we’d like to see that number come down by over half in the next year,” Helmick said.

Helmick says we’re still nowhere near what’s considered a healthy foreclosure number.

The number of foreclosed filings in Lane County is around 350 to 400 homes.

By Stacia Kalinoski