Foreclosures rising in Richmond area

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Despite the increase in foreclosures in the area, there is some good news for local homeowners.

More than one and a half percent of homes here in Richmond are now in foreclosure. That's up slightly from this time last year., but it's still way below the national average.

Larry Cary tried to renegotiate his mortgage to avoid foreclosure earlier this month.

"The house is valued at less than what I owe," Cary said.

Many people like Cary have run into hard times and are trying to keep their homes.

"I had to take an early retirement," he said. "I can no longer work so my income has been reduced. I'm struggling to make my mortgage payments."

Recent figures from CoreLogic show foreclosures on the rise.

1.27% of Richmond area homes were in foreclosure in September 2010.

Fast forward a year and that number is now 1.58%.

John Pace is a local realtor with Keller Williams. He says the good news is the percentage of foreclosed homes nationally is more than double what it is here in Central Virginia.

"Richmond has a strong market," Pace said. "Yes, we do have a lot of distressed properties and foreclosures. We're working to get off the market but our picture here is very strong compared to the national average."

He says sales are up 23% from last year and pending home sales are also up by more than 10%. He says homes are selling faster and that's helping with home prices.

We may not have hit rock bottom with the housing market yet, but there's light at the end of the tunnel.

"Homes are moving relatively quickly," Pace said. "If you're a buyer, it's a great time to be buying. If you're a seller, it's not always a great time but it's not a horrible market to be buying in right now."

Pace says many banks are also starting to fix up many foreclosed properties. He says he's finding many foreclosed homes that have fresh paint, new carpet and new appliances.

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