Foreclosures in Calgary continue to rise despite signs of hope

Foreclosures continue to rise dramatically in Alberta while more mortgages are falling into arrears.

The downturn in the economy has meant financial strain for a lot of families, both in Calgary and throughout Alberta. For homeowners, the continuing downturn has meant that the threat of foreclosure has become very real, with such foreclosures continuing to rise over the past year. Furthermore, while, as the Calgary Herald reports, there are signs that the housing market this year could begin to turn around, those predictions are far from certain and in the meantime many people are faced with the terrifying prospect of struggling to hold on to their homes.

Foreclosures continue to rise

As Maclean's reports, foreclosure notices issued by courts in Edmonton and Calgary increased by 15 percent just between November and December of 2016. Furthermore, overall foreclosures for Alberta's two biggest cities are up by an estimated 40 percent for all of 2016.

Outside of Calgary and Edmonton the picture doesn't seem much better. Province-wide, 4,000 foreclosure applications were filed between April and November, which is already seven percent higher than the number of applications that were filed for the full fiscal year (which runs April to March) previous.

Foreclosures only one side of the story

Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that foreclosures only tell one side of a much broader and troubling story. That's because generally banks try to avoid foreclosure since it can be such a cumbersome process. That means that foreclosure rates fail to capture the many families that are struggling with mortgage payments but who have nonetheless not yet been foreclosed upon.

In November 2016, for example, there were 2,506 mortgages in arrears in Alberta, which, while still less than what was experienced in the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession, is still twice as high as figures from two years ago. Furthermore, Albertans-and Canadians in general-are struggling to pay down overall debts that have become less manageable in recent years. The household debt to income ratio for Canadians currently stands at 167 percent, which is alarming because it is higher than the debt-to-income ratio Americans were saddled with prior to the 2008 crisis. That means that one more economic shock could leave people in Alberta and throughout the country extremely vulnerable.

Real estate and foreclosure help

Foreclosure is a frightening experience, but it is not always inevitable. Foreclosure can often be avoided by simply reaching out for help early on. A real estate and foreclosure law firm can help those who are threatened with foreclosure understand what their options are. An experienced law firm may be able to provide alternatives that can help one get back on a sound financial footing while also staying in one's home.