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Foreclosure filings remain at pandemic lows in Winston-Salem area; N.C. Realtors ask governor to end eviction moratorium
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Foreclosure filings remain at pandemic lows in Winston-Salem area; N.C. Realtors ask governor to end eviction moratorium

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Foreclosures remained at near-historic low levels in the Triad during May with most proceedings still on pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the N.C. Association of Realtors sent Tuesday a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper asking him to allow the statewide eviction moratorium to expire on June 30.

National real-estate research firm Attom Data Solutions reported Tuesday the five-county Winston-Salem metropolitan statistical area had 17 foreclosure filings in May, compared with 26 in April and 29 in May 2020.

The counties are Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Stokes and Yadkin.

By comparison, the Greensboro-High Point MSA had 15 filings in May, compared with 51 filings in April and 28 in May 2020.

Most foreclosures that proceeded in 2020 were related to vacant and abandoned properties.

However, Attom analysts have warned there could be substantial unleashing of foreclosure filings accompanying an economic recovery this year.

“Last year’s numbers were extraordinarily low due to the implementation of the foreclosure moratorium and the CARES Act mortgage forbearance program, so the year-over-year numbers look a lot more dramatic than they are,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president for Attom affiliate RealtyTrac. “May foreclosure activity actually declined compared to April.”

Eviction moratorium

Cooper signed an executive order at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 in which he urged banks, credit unions and other lenders “not to charge customers for overdraft fees, late fees and other penalties.”

The federal CARES Act provided forbearance for borrowers with federally backed mortgage loans who were economically impacted by the pandemic.

On Friday, Cooper extended the state’s COVID-19 emergency response for another six weeks — until July 30 — saying it is necessary to keep pivotal state and federal pandemic relief programs in place.

As part of Executive Order No. 220, Cooper kept state evictions prohibitions in effect through at least June 30.

The N.C. Realtors urged Cooper to end the evictions moratorium “to reflect the current progress of North Carolina’s diminishing pandemic emergency, including lessening mask mandates as well as business, event and school re-openings.”

“It is also time to adapt the on-going moratorium on evictions and refocus efforts on distributing the hundreds of millions of federal dollars that have been designated to states for rental assistance.”

The advocacy group said the recovering economy is not benefiting small business housing providers, “who continue to operate under severe restrictions.”

“But the improvements in conditions that have allowed the rest of the economy to open up should allow housing to do the same.

“Asking small business housing providers to indefinitely suspend their ability to collect rent puts a disproportionate burden on their ability to participate in the economic recovery and has created a severe financial burden which threatens their businesses and livelihoods.”

The group said the state’s economy needs “financially healthy housing providers to serve North Carolina’s growing housing needs.”

336-727-7376 @rcraverWSJ

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