More than 300 properties on foreclosure registry

There are more than 300 residential properties on the city’s foreclosure registry, as of Sept. 1, including almost 100 vacant properties.

City Council established a foreclosure registry in August 2014 and is poised to amend the ordinance at its Monday meeting to include commercial properties, among other changes. UPDATED: With no comment from the public or its members, City Council unanimously adopted the ordinance Sept. 14 by a vote of 8-0, with one member absent (6th Ward Councilman Raymond Giacobbe, Jr.).

Earlier this summer, I requested a copy of the foreclosure registry from the city and there were approximately 336 properties registered as of Sept. 1, including 241 foreclosures and 95 vacancies. According to the 2010 Census, there were 11,300 housing units in Rahway, so 336 properties would work out to about 3 percent (though the denominator and numerator in that calculation aren’t consistent since they’re about 5 years apart).

How that compares to other towns is unclear but Union County has the seventh-highest foreclosure rate in the state, according to this report. Overall, the state had 7,378 foreclosed housing units as of May, out of 3.5 million total units; one for every 483 properties — a rate of 0.21 percent undergoing the foreclosure process. That’s higher than the national average of 0.10 percent.

Properties in Rahway are now required to file registration annually. There may be additional properties under review that have not been formally added to the registry, perhaps pending information from the owner.

I converted the foreclosure registry into a spreadsheet that you can find here for foreclosures and here for vacancies. I also love maps so there’s a map of said spreadsheet (blue = foreclosures; red = vacant).

The properties are scattered throughout the city but some things of note after a brief look at the map:

  • Amid a three-block stretch of Hamilton Street from downtown, there are seven foreclosures, including two vacancies.
  • There are six foreclosures, including one vacancy, along one block of Price Street.
  • Only one unit in Carriage City Plaza is in foreclosure;
  • I didn’t break it out by ward boundaries like I did for the 2012 tax appeals (sorry, just too tedious right now, maybe later on), but it sure seems like the 2nd Ward might have the most foreclosures, judging by the number of pins on the map. It may be that they’re just more concentrated in that area, especially north of Elizabeth Avenue to the Clark border. Parts of that might overlap into the 1st Ward, so it would seem that the 1st and 2nd Wards have the highest number of foreclosures.

Anything in particular jump out at you?

69-79 Main St.
69-79 Main St.

Under the original ordinance passed last summer, owners have to register properties with the city within 14 days of becoming vacant, with an initial registration fee of $500; renewal fees of $1,500 after the first year, $3,000 for the second renewal and $5,000 for the third and subsequent renewals.

City officials anticipated the registry could generate fees of some $40,000 in the 2015 budget but could reach $100,000. If 300 of the properties on my Sept. 1 list all paid the $500 registration fee, that would generate $150,000 — not including any that may be into their second year of the registry, which would bring a $1,500 fee.

If we assume just for argument’s sake that some 40 other properties might be in the second year of the registry, they would pay a $1,500 fee, generating $60,000. The total then would exceed $200,000 in revenue for the city.

9 thoughts on “More than 300 properties on foreclosure registry”

  1. Why should the city profit from people’s misfortune? Seems like s way to heap further debt on people who are already overwhelmed. Is there a distinction made between commercial and private ownership, flippers vs. families? Is there an appeal process or hardship waiver? Don’t we already pay enough taxes without having to hit these poor folks when they’re already struggling? Fees like this are just taxes in disguise and are a disgusting grab for money.

    1. It is not the people that are paying for these fees. I assume, & I can be wrong, that it is properties that have already been repossessed from the previous homeowner by the bank that held the mortgage. So they are not actually further burdening the homeowner. Again, I can be wrong but this is how I understand it as of right now

      1. Yes Ana, I think you’re correct. As I see it, the city saw a way to 1, encourage banks to keep up the properties, and 2, squeeze some dollars out of banks — high enough fees that might encourage faster foreclosure process, but also fees nonetheless that generate revenue outside of taxes.

    2. Most of the properties are likely bank-owned, not families who are behind on their mortgage, I would venture to guess.

      As I understand it, the goal of the ordinance was to try to get bank-owned properties to at least upkeep the properties at the least, and at best, not sit on them, but incentivize them to get through the foreclosure process. And part of that encouragement was the fees, which do seem high at first blush I’ll admit, and a money grab of sorts. At the same time, the fines need to be high enough to encourage owners to get out of foreclosure and become active properties. At least that’s my understanding.

      Also, there’s a difference (however subtle, and maybe I’m being pedantic) between ‘profit’ and ‘revenue’ , but especially when it comes to government.

  2. What a sorry state of affairs for a small town. Two are very close to my house. I wonder, if some, if not many of these homes foreclosures are due to the owner’s financial inability to make repairs to them after Sandy and other intense storms we’ve experienced in the past few years.

    1. Or how many of them are because the value of the house remains “under water” with respect to the value of the mortgage on the house. My house is still far below the price I paid for it (plus the renovations I’ve done to it).

      Are the vacant properties also foreclosed properties? There’s a house across the street from me that’s been vacant for at least 2 years at this point, with never a “for sale” sign on it. someone’s been maintaining the yard, though.

Comments are closed.