Mounting foreclosures strain rural communities

From the Daily Miner

Mounting foreclosures strain rural communities
With fewer resources, homeowners in cities like Kingman have fewer options
REBECCA L. MCCLAY/ Cronkite News ServiceRoxanne Knoche faced foreclosure but managed to keep the Kingman-area home she built for her retirement. Had she lost her home, she says she would have moved back to Southern California. While Arizona’s urban areas reel from foreclosures, rural communities also are feeling the strain and have fewer resources with which to respond.
REBECCA L. MCCLAY/ Cronkite News Service

Roxanne Knoche faced foreclosure but managed to keep the Kingman-area home she built for her retirement. Had she lost her home, she says she would have moved back to Southern California. While Arizona’s urban areas reel from foreclosures, rural communities also are feeling the strain and have fewer resources with which to respond.

Rebecca L. McClay
Cronkite News Service

KINGMAN – For Roxanne Knoche, losing the ranch home that she had custom-built for her retirement would be devastating.

A 53-year-old former office manager for a Costa Mesa, Calif., plumbing company, she moved here in 2007, living off disability payments she received for heart failure, diabetes and kidney failure.

Her disability payments ran out in 2008, reducing her monthly income to $1,345 and making it impossible to afford her $1,242 mortgage payments and basic needs like utilities and groceries. After more than a year of trying to negotiate a modified loan with Bank of America, having her house in Golden Valley advertised as a foreclosure and shooing away people dropping by to see the corner-lot property, Knoche was preparing for another move.

“I would have had to pack up what I could and just go,” she said. “I don’t know where I would have went. I don’t know. Try to rent a room somewhere? I probably would have tried to go back to California to find a room to rent.”

While Knoche finally fended off foreclosure in November, getting her monthly payments lowered by more than half, she was very close to joining hundreds of Kingman-area residents forced to give up their homes since the real estate boom went bust.

As the Phoenix area’s crush of foreclosures has drawn national attention, routinely ranking that area among the most severely hit markets in the U.S., rural communities here have been quietly grappling with their own crisis.

And it’s a crisis with no end in sight for smaller towns. Many homeowners faced with escalating mortgage payments and job losses have been giving up on modifying mortgages and abandoning homes.

With neither strong rental markets to absorb displaced homeowners nor ample job opportunities, leaders in some rural communities fear they are losing longtime residents due to foreclosures.

Gathering specific data on rural foreclosures and the effects on the established communities, which have more seasonal residents and mobile and manufactured housing, is difficult, said Jay Butler, director of the Arizona Real Estate Center at Arizona State University.

“There’s not a lot of data on the rural areas,” Butler said. “It’s a different mix of things that are ongoing there. The economies are much smaller.”

Real estate experts originally predicted that housing market recovery would begin this year, Butler said, but now the consensus is that a recovery won’t begin until at least next year.

“We’ve got a long ways to go before that segment of the market recovers,” he said.

Kingman, a community of 27,521 in northwestern Arizona, boasts tourism and manufacturing industries along a busy railroad and interstate. People here say they enjoy the more relaxed pace of life over the metropolitan bustle of Las Vegas or Phoenix.

Like Phoenix, Kingman’s foreclosure rates have been unprecedented in the past few years, with 124 foreclosures in the town in October alone, according to RealtyTrac. In all of Mohave County, where more than 502 homes were in some stage of foreclosure in October, 3,745 homes faced foreclosure this year.

Kingman had the second-highest number of foreclosures in Mohave County in October after Lake Havasu City, which had 165. Bullhead City, with 110 foreclosures, ranked third. All three municipalities had foreclosure rates higher than both the state and national rates.

4 Responses

  1. this article doesn’t shows only one side. It’s only focus on Roxanne Knoche’s losing a house and her options. Real state also have thier own sides.

  2. […] the original post: Mounting foreclosures strain rural communities   Tags: corruption, gtc | honor Posted in: […]

  3. This article doesn’t say how she fended off foreclosure. It sounds like she finally got a loan mod with B of A?
    How did she do it? What happened?
    How did she stop the foreclosure?

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