PROVIDENCE – A new report from HousingWorks RI showed that 11.2 percent fewer residential foreclosure deeds were filed in Rhode Island during the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the fourth quarter of 2011 and 36 percent fewer compared with the fourth quarter of 2009.
For 2012 in its entirety, 1,617 residential foreclosure deeds were filed in Rhode Island, a 23 percent decline from the figure filed in 2011 and a decrease of 43 percent from 2009.
In 2012, 0.9 percent of Rhode Island’s mortgaged housing stock was foreclosed on, a decrease of 0.23 percentage points from the 1.13 percent reported for 2011.
Of Rhode Island’s 39 municipalities, 10 had foreclosure rates greater than the 2012 state rate of 0.9 percent and accounted for the majority of the state’s residential foreclosures last year.
Central Falls led the pack in 2012 with 37 foreclosures, or 3.1 percent of mortgaged stock. From 2009 to 2012, there were 196 total foreclosures in Central Falls.
Providence, not including the East Side, had 314 foreclosures in 2012, or 2.4 percent of total mortgaged stock. Between 2009 and 2012, there were 1,917 foreclosures in Providence.
In both Central Falls and Providence, multifamily foreclosures played a large part in the municipalities’ foreclosure statistics. Of the 196 total foreclosures between 2009 and 2012 in Central Falls, 161 were multifamily properties. Of the 1,917 foreclosures in Providence during that period, 1,191 were multifamily properties.
The other municipalities with foreclosures rates greater than the state average in 2012 were: Woonsocket (1.7 percent), Pawtucket (1.5 percent), North Providence (1.4 percent), West Warwick (1.2 percent), Warwick (1.1 percent), Cranston (1.1 percent), West Greenwich (1 percent) and Johnston (1 percent).
The municipalities with the lowest foreclosure rates in the Ocean State were New Shoreham and Little Compton (both at 0 percent), Portsmouth (0.1 percent), and Jamestown and Middletown (both at 0.2 percent).
According to the HousingWorks RI report, despite the overall decline in foreclosure deeds filed in 2012, the state’s high cost-of-living and high unemployment rate leave many Rhode Island homeowners vulnerable to foreclosure.
“Four in 10 households with a mortgage are considered cost burdened, spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs,” Jessica Cigna, research and policy associate at HousingWorks RI, said in prepared remarks. “Looking closer at U.S. Census data we see that 18 percent of those same households have someone unemployed.”
The report cited statistics from the Mortgage Bankers Association National Delinquency Survey, which showed that Rhode Island leads New England in foreclosure starts and is tied for 7th nationwide for the rate of foreclosures.
“While we’re encouraged by the decline in number of residential foreclosure deeds filed in Rhode Island last year, we know many homeowners are still struggling,” Nellie M. Gorbea, executive director of HousingWorks RI, said in a statement. “It’s essential for policymakers to consider how high housing cost burdens affect not only Rhode Islanders, but our local economies when developing policies to promote economic growth.”