EUGENE, Ore. — The housing market looks promising for 2013 with home prices rising in Lane County, but a new way of approaching foreclosures has the potential to create a pretty big backlog.
Sergeant Brian Smeltzer with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office is tasked with processing foreclosures. In the past few months, his workload has gotten a lot bigger.
He attributes some of this increased workload to judicial foreclosures, a process that allows banks to sue homeowners over foreclosed homes.
The process is incredibly time consuming for the sheriff’s office, but Sergeant Smeltzer is mandated by the law to handle these lengthy cases.
“We did 13 foreclosures in 2011. Last year in 2012, we did approximately 80-100,” Smeltzer said.
The sherriff’s office is already having to undergo budget cuts and simply can’t hire more help to process the huge amount of foreclosure cases. John Helmick, CEO of Gorilla Capital, says the process could also have an effect on the economy.
“Judicial foreclosures tend to drag the housing recovery backwards,” Helmick said.
Ultimately, Helmick thinks the extra foreclosures could really start draining the public’s resources.
“It is a burden on people who are out their paying their taxes and paying their mortgage every month,” Helmick said.
While this has the potential to slow down housing recovery, many in Lane County still feel optimistic about where the housing market is headed.