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Hampton Roads VA Foreclosures

Foreclosure-related notices throughout Hampton Roads are up 2-1/2 times from year-ago levels, according to RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure-monitoring service based in Irvine, Calif. The growth in local foreclosure activity is outpacing the nation, where activity grew 4 1 percent in December compared with a year earlier.

Foreclosures here are not as prevalent as in such hard-hit places as California and Nevada, but the trend has touched nearly every neighborhood in Hampton Roads, from working-class Norfolk enclaves to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront with its million-dollar homes.

Even with interest rates at 40-year lows and relief packages being debated by Congress, economists and real estate experts expect foreclosures to get worse this year as home prices continue to fall, adjustable-rate mortgages reset and more homeowners lose jobs in the flagging economy.

Three years ago, one in every 13,000 homes in the region had a foreclosure-related filing. At the beginning of 2008, that number had risen to one in nearly 1,800 homes.

In December, it was one in 513 homes.

Such filings include bank repossessions, auctions of foreclosed houses and notices of default, which mark the beginning of the foreclosure process.

Part of the spike can be attributed to people losing their jobs,  but resets on adjustable-rate mortgages deserve a healthy share of the blame.

Last year, 7,522 adjustable-rate mortgages in Hampton Roads reset to higher rates, according to mortgage-data tracker First American CoreLogic. This year, the firm predicts 4,728 more will reset.

In Virginia Beach, the worst foreclosure concentrations appear south of Interstate 264, running from Kempsville to Green Run and the area around Lynnhaven Mall. But Great Neck, Sandbridge and even the North End are not immune.

Foreclosures in Chesapeake dot neighborhoods throughout the city but are particularly concentrated in South Norfolk.

Working-class neighborhoods such as South Norfolk seem to have borne the brunt of the foreclosures to date. Few such neighborhoods in Norfolk and Portsmouth have been spared.

Olde Huntersville, Lindenwood and Barraud Park in Norfolk are particularly hard hit, as is Brighton/Prentiss Park in Portsmouth. Many foreclosures in those communities can be attributed to the now-defunct CM Development, which owned more than 250 homes in them before declaring bankruptcy in 2007.

In Suffolk, foreclosures are dense around downtown but also can be seen in the newer North Suffolk neighborhoods of Harbour View and off Shoulders Hill Road.

Home prices in Hampton Roads fell 7.3 percent in 2008.

Falling prices contribute to rising foreclosures. As prices fall, homeowners who purchased at the price peak begin to owe their lenders more than their homes are worth.

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