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Foreclosures dip slightly here

A total of 125 families or individuals in Douglas County lost their homes through foreclosure last year, according to a new report that analyzed sheriff's sale data.

That's a tiny improvement from 2009 when 128 foreclosures were reported in the county.

If you're looking for a bright side, here's another: The local foreclosure numbers aren't nearly as bad as what happened statewide.

The report shows there were 25,673 foreclosures in Minnesota in 2010, an increase of 11 percent from the 23,092 foreclosure sales in 2009. 2010 now replaces 2009 as the second highest year on record.

The report, titled "Foreclosures in Minnesota," analyzed sheriff's sale data, the primary means of identifying foreclosures, from all Minnesota counties.

Minnesota is unique among other states in the availability of current, comprehensive sheriff's sale data.

"Even with the slowdown in the number of foreclosure sales that were completed in the fourth quarter, the number of Minnesota families losing their home to foreclosure in 2010 was still four to five times higher than what we saw before the start of the crisis," said Julie Gugin, executive director for the Minnesota Home Ownership Center.

Gugin also cautioned that the crisis is not likely to be over in the near future.

"We know that lenders slowed their pace of foreclosures at the end of 2010 while they worked out their legal and paperwork related issues," she said. "In 2011, unless we see a dramatic improvement in the state's economic conditions, we'll continue to see elevated numbers of foreclosures."

The number of foreclosures in Douglas County in the first quarter of 2010 totaled 35. The number bumped up to 38 in the second quarter and then decreased to 32 in the third quarter before dropping to 20 by the end of the year.

Out of the 87 counties in the state, Douglas County was among 21 that experienced foreclosure declines in 2010 from the previous year.

Foreclosure trends were especially troubling in Greater Minnesota where the 2010 total increased 16 percent. In the Twin Cities metro area, foreclosures increased 9 percent, according to the report.

Here are the number of foreclosures in nearby counties: Pope - 25, Stevens - six, Grant - 26, Todd - 96 and Otter Tail - 158.

A full copy of the report is available at the Minnesota Home Ownership Center's website:


According to the Minnesota Home Ownership Center, there are two types of foreclosures in Minnesota - judicial foreclosure, which is conducted like any other form of civil lawsuit, and foreclosure by advertisement, which is a type of non-judicial foreclosure.

The large majority of foreclosures in Minnesota occur by advertisement. Here's how it works:

Foreclosures take place at the county level and are regulated, for the most part, by state legislation.

The process can start as early as 30 days after a borrower misses a payment.

Once the mortgage is in delinquency, the lender empowers an attorney who files notice of pendency against the borrower.

The attorney publishes a foreclosure sale notice in the local newspaper at least six weeks before the date of a sheriff's sale, and the county serves the filing to the homeowner.

At any point before the sheriff's sale, the property owner can reinstate the mortgage by paying all dues, fees and expenses.

State law allows homeowners to delay their foreclosure sale by five months but the homeowner must file for the postponement between the first publication of the sheriff's sale and 15 days prior to the sale. This reduces the redemption period (mentioned below) to five weeks.

After the notice has been published and served, the sheriff's sale occurs and the sheriff auctions the property off to the highest bidder, resulting in foreclosure of the mortgage.

Following the sale is a redemption period of up to six months, during which the borrower can redeem the property by paying the amount of sale plus interest, taxes, fees, or liens on the property.

Borrowers who do not redeem the property by the expiration of the redemption period lose title and right of occupancy in the property.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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