Weather Forecast


Foreclosures spike in Wadena County

The rate of foreclosures in Wadena County is going up, even as it is going down nearly everywhere else in Minnesota.

From the first two quarters of 2010 to the first two quarters of 2011, Wadena County had one of the highest increases in foreclosures at 71 percent - 17 in Q1-Q2 of 2010, and 29 in Q1-Q2 of 2011, according to the 2011 Semi-Annual Foreclosures in Minnesota report based on sheriff's sales, provided by the Minnesota Home Ownership Center. It was one of just a few counties with significant increases in foreclosure.

The statistics are for completed foreclosures that went through the sheriff's sale. Wadena had 9 completed foreclosures in Q1 of 2010, 8 in Q2 2010, 9 in Q3 2010, 8 in Q4 2010, then jumping to 17 in Q1 2011 and 12 in Q2 2011.

Twenty-nine - the total number of 2011 foreclosures in Wadena County as of the first two quarters - already approaches last year's total of 34 in 2010. However, 2010 was better than 2009, which saw 46 total completed foreclosures.

In terms of its foreclosure rate, Wadena County was better off compared to the state average a year ago, but not any more.

Wadena County's foreclosure rate was 0.31 in the first two quarters of 2010, but 0.54 in the first two quarters of 2011.

The foreclosure rate went from 0.59 in the first two quarters of 2010 to 0.47 in the first two quarters of 2011 in greater Minnesota, and 0.73 to 0.62 in Minnesota overall.

Otter Tail County decreased from 0.32 to 0.29, and Todd County decreased from 0.55 to 0.38.

Dana Patsie and Diane Leaders of Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council (OTWCAC) said the New York Mills-based office has free foreclosure counseling available.

Patsie, who works with people going through foreclosure, said the majority of foreclosures are from national rather than local lenders.

"Local lenders have worked hard to help the families," Leaders said.

"Local banks do know about our counseling program," Patsie said.

They said that only a very small number of families they have counseled for foreclosure had property destroyed or damaged in the tornado, and those that did were already struggling before the tornado.

"The tornado didn't help them," Leaders said.

Patsie and Leaders said some people had purchased houses they were previously able to make payments for, but because of the recession, they lost their jobs or had to settle for lower paying jobs.

Patsie and Leaders said that when people can evade the final sheriff's sale during the pre-foreclosure process or redemption period, it retains a significant amount of money in the community.

According to documents from OTWCAC, the mortgage counseling program provides information on the foreclosure process, offer personalized assistance to identify options to stay current on one's mortgage, help people develop a household spending plan and negotiate with lenders or servicers for repayment strategies or a loan modification.

Patsie said that this is the first year Wadena has exceeded the overall Minnesota foreclosure rate.

The New York Mills office can be reached at (218) 385-2900 or toll free (800) 450-2900.