It’s Friday desk clearing time for this blogger. “In New Jersey, foreclosure filings — which include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — rose 44 percent last year, RealtyTrac said. Atlantic County was up 45 percent, Cumberland County 38 percent and Cape May County 20 percent. Michael Kadas needed nearly five years to get anything more than a nibble on his five-bedroom home in a Northfield cul-de-sac. The past six months brought something new — offers to buy. But bids have been much lower than the $379,000 asking price for the property. ‘We’re finding we’ve been up against a lot of foreclosures,’ said Kadas. ‘That’s been hurting us. We’re not upside down, but we’re trying to compete with all these bank-owned (properties).’”

“A recent study from the Woodstock Institute shows there are more than 11,700 ‘zombie properties,’ or unresolved foreclosures, in the area, including 5,800 in Chicago. Researchers found 60 percent of foreclosures filed from 2008 to 2009 remained unsold by 2012. ‘There is a lot of talk about the housing market coming back, but the truth is it’s not coming back everywhere,’ said Katie Buitrago, senior policy associate at the Woodstock Institute.”

“Come tax time, JPMorgan Chase will be able to write off the $1.5 billion in debt relief it must give homeowners to satisfy the terms of a recent settlement. But the homeowners who receive the help will have to treat it as taxable income, resulting in whopping tax bills for many families. ‘I’m in a hole here — I’m trying to work my way out,’ said Eric Heil, who said a divorce and reduced income were forcing him to sell the house he has owned for 18 years in Parma, Ohio. ‘And the government’s going to say you have to pay taxes on it?’”

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