Home foreclosures spike in Houston area

HOUSTON A new survey shows a big spike in foreclosures here in Houston in just the past few months.

The foreclosure for sale signs have been a familiar one in the Houston area, and they are now the centerpiece of even more front yards.

"I gotta tell ya, in my opinion, it's gonna get worse before it gets better," said Michael Weaster with Excel Realty.

Weaster has been a foreclosure specialist for decades in Houston. He lists foreclosures for mortgage companies and he says many more are on the way.

Weaster says moratoriums by the White House at the end of 2009 and into this year stopped foreclosures from trickling into the market. Now they are being released.

"Not necessarily just moratoriums, but there is a lot of other reasons that banks held off on even foreclosing, so the houses sat there vacant for months," Weaster said. "Now they are starting to have to foreclose on them."

According to research from RealtyTrac, a national real estate website, from July to September this year, the Houston area experienced a 26 percent spike in foreclosures.

Local real estate experts say when it comes to foreclosures it's hard to say will they will subside.

"We can't predict that right now," HAR President Margie Dorants said. "There is a bit of a holding pattern right now. Some of the lenders -- there is a bit of a moratorium from some of the lenders."

And it's that holding pattern that foreclosure specialists say means more are headed down the pipeline.

"It's really gonna bring our values down in my opinion, and it's gonna hurt this Houston market -- even with the great economy we have," Weaster said.

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