'We're living in uncharted waters': Real estate experts worry about … – York Dispatch

Today’s tough economic climate, coming on the heels of a red-hot housing market, has local real estate experts worried about a spike in foreclosures.
“The numbers don’t lie — and they’re concerning,” said Reid Weinbrom, president of the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties. “I’m concerned about first-time homebuyers” — both new homeowners and those seeking to enter the market.
In 2021, there was unprecedented growth in home sales in York County. That was when interest rates reached historically low levels and a pandemic-era moratorium on foreclosures was in place, encouraging both buyers and sellers to enter the market.
With interest rates now up to 6% and the moratorium lifted, it seems that many homeowners are having a hard time making monthly mortgage payments they once thought they could handle.
From January to May, there have been 257 residential and three commercial foreclosures in York County, according to Prothonotary Allison Blew. That’s a pace that could surpass the 2022 numbers, which reached 497 residential and five commercial foreclosures in the full year. 
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Blew said 2023’s foreclosure numbers are not nearly as high as they were in pre-pandemic years, but other experts, including Monique Ewasko, worry that foreclosure trends could continue to rise.
Ewasko, a certified housing counselor for the Community Progress Council, said that inflation, the cost of living and rising interest rates contribute to financial pressure.
“You are definitely going to see an uptick in foreclosures, really, when the state of the economy isn’t doing so well,” Ewasko said. “And really it’s making it a bit more difficult for some homeowners to maintain those mortgage payments.”
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Pennsylvania had the 16th highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in May, according to finance company SoFi. Property data provider ATTOM reported that the number of U.S. housing units with foreclosure filings in May was 35,196 — a nearly 14% increase from the previous year.
In May, home sales plummeted by 15% from the same time last year, according to statistics published by RAYAC. In the same report, median sale prices continued to climb by 8% — widening that affordability gap for people looking to buy their first home.
In 2021, home sales increased by 10% due to high demand in a fast-moving market. Bidding wars pushed prices higher and prompted some buyers to forgo inspections.
MORE:‘More than just another real estate sale’: A day in the life of a York County Realtor
Ewasko and her team at the Community Progress Council are doing what they can to help York County residents avoid troublesome financial situations.
“It’s really important for these folks to make sure that they have a spending plan in place, and they really want that spending plan in place prior to purchasing a home,” Ewasko said. “A lot of what we discuss in our first-time homebuyer workshops is not only just what goes into the steps of buying a home, but the steps to maintain that home.”
The Community Progress Council offers a range of free programs to York County residents on topics surrounding financial security.
Its Pathway to Homeownership workshop, for instance, is presented to help individuals learn about purchasing a home and the steps required to achieve that goal.
“If you feel that you are an imminent risk of becoming delinquent on mortgage payments, we provide that foreclosure mitigation counseling,” Ewasko added. “It can be really confusing and a little bit intimidating, so I always encourage folks to contact us immediately.”
Another program, Take Charge of Your Money, focuses on building financial literacy.
All information on upcoming programs can be found by visiting https://www.yorkcpc.org/upcoming-events/.
“I’m concerned that we’re living in uncharted waters, and I’m concerned about what’s going to happen down the road when it’s time to pay the bills,” RAYAC’s Weinbrom said.

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