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Foreclosure Crisis in West Michigan

More info on the extent of the crisis


The wave of foreclosures that is sweeping the country has hit Western Michigan particularly hard.

This is a direct result of the “perfect storm” caused by

  • a poor economy,
  • the interest rate adjustment of adjustable rate mortgages
  • predatory lending.

Michigan’s unemployment rate is among the worst in the country and contributes to the increasing rate of foreclosures.

According to RealtyTrac and the Mortgage Banker’s Association, Michigan has consistently been among the top ten states in the number of foreclosures for the past two years, and in the third quarter of 2008 was one of eight states with a foreclosure rate above the national average. The foreclosure data in West Michigan is no less dismal.

  • Muskegon County foreclosures doubled from 2004 reporting 1,126 mortgage foreclosures in 2007 and are, unfortunately are on track to finish 2008 even higher with 1030 sheriff’s deeds already recorded.
  • Kalamazoo County has likewise shown a steady increase in the number of foreclosures with 762 sheriff’s deeds filed in 2006, 969 recorded in 2007, and again seems posed to meet if not exceed that number in 2008.
  • Ottawa County foreclosures increased from 540 in 2006 to 850 in 2007 and 740 recorded through September 2008.
  • Kent County recorded 2,478 sheriff’s deeds in 2006, and 3,344 in 2007 and have recorded 3051 through the first week of September 2008. Just in the City of Grand Rapids, the Community Research Institute found that predominately minority census tracts had significantly higher foreclosure rates, with most minority neighborhood rates in excess of 5%, than census tracts where the majority of the population was White.
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