Hawaii foreclosure cases fall for fourth year in a row

Hawaii foreclosure cases fall for fourth year in a row

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Real estate foreclosures declined in Hawaii for a fourth consecutive year in 2017, according to statistics from the state Judiciary.

The number of new foreclosure cases filed statewide last year fell 16% percent to 1,461 from 1,734 the year before.

Foreclosure lawsuits initiated mainly by lenders against homeowners in Hawaii peaked in 2013 at 3,430 cases. The decline began in 2014 when 2,084 cases were filed, and the next year new case volume decreased to 1,826.

The four-year trend has been influenced by a prospering state economy where personal income has risen, unemployment has dropped about as low as it can go, and home values have appreciated moderately. Still, unfortunate life events including divorce, bad financial decisions and debilitating illness or injury can lead to foreclosure.

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Judiciary statistics on foreclosures go back only to 2010, though for that year many foreclosures by lenders against homeowners were conducted out of court in a nonjudicial process that homeowner advocates contended was unfair to borrowers. Since mid-2011, all foreclosure cases by lenders against homeowners have been filed in state court after the Legislature overhauled rules governing foreclosure in Hawaii.

Cases filed in court can include actions against owners of commercial real estate and actions initiated by condominium associations against homeowners who fail to pay maintenance fees or other assessments. Condo association cases, however, also can be done through the nonjudicial process. Other foreclosure cases, including actions involving timeshare properties, are typically done through the nonjudicial process that isn’t counted in Judiciary data.

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