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Gauging Inflation's Impact on Foreclosure Activity in MN, U.S.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022   

In the first six months of this year, the U.S. saw a significant jump in foreclosure filings, coinciding with concerns about the pressure inflation is putting on homeowners.

A national tracking firm recently reported nearly 165,000 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings, more than double the same time last year. The uptick follows the expiration of pandemic moratoriums and forbearance programs, but analysts say spikes in consumer costs are not helping.

Joe Mahon, regional outreach director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, said it affects borrowers in different ways.

"It causes people to cut back on the more discretionary parts of their budget," Mahon observed. "If you're low income, you don't necessarily have a lot of discretionary spending, so there's not necessarily a lot of room to cut."

Mahon pointed out even though wages have been rising sharply, they have not kept up with inflation, hurting a person's chances to get caught up on budget concerns, such as overdue payments.

Around the state, the Minnesota Homeownership Center has partnerships with nearly 20 organizations offering free financial counseling to avoid foreclosure.

While gas prices have been trending downward, Mahon noted they are still higher than they were a year ago and homeowners might also be reeling from other energy price hikes, including natural gas and the cost of heating their home.

"Unless we see a dramatic reversal in natural gas and heating oil prices, expect higher heating costs this winter, as well," Mahon cautioned. "That's one of those things that you can only trim your spending on that so much."

As for foreclosure filings, Minnesota is in the middle pack among states for the first half of 2022, during which the real estate data company ATTOM said more than 2,100 properties around the state were in foreclosure.

Disclosure: The Minnesota Homeownership Center contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Housing/Homelessness, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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