Tornadoes Impact Foreclosures, Construction, Home Prices

foreclosure sign

Foreclosures are down in Oklahoma, according to RealtyTrac, which recently released statewide foreclosure statistics for the month of May. However, a RealtyTrac spokesperson said the results are skewed due to a moratorium on foreclosures in May after devastating tornadoes hit the state.

Foreclosure filings — which include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 1,123 Oklahoma properties in May. That total is down 11% from the previous month and down 13% from the same month of 2012. Oklahoma had an 18-month high in scheduled foreclosure auctions in April.

Oklahoma foreclosures are occurring at a rate of one in every 1475 housing units, which is significantly better than the national rate of one in 885 units.

The recent tornadoes and resulting destruction have not only affected foreclosure filings, but will also have a huge impact on the housing market, according to an Oklahoma realtor quoted in the RealtyTrac news release. He said 4,000 homes were destroyed by the tornadoes and another 10,000 homes were damaged, with many of them being left uninhabitable.

The loss of life, homes and property is an unbearable tragedy for the families in Moore, Shawnee, El Reno and other communities hit by the recent tornadoes. It is one of life’s strange ironies that tragedy often has a flip side. In this case, the realtor predicted that as a result of the sudden destruction of so many homes, Oklahoma will experience a construction boom and “an unprecedented period of home price appreciation in the Oklahoma City market over the next five years.” He said a similar boom occurred after the May 1999 tornado.

Of course, an improved housing market does nothing to help Oklahoma homeowners who are having difficulty making their monthly mortgage payments. Broken Arrow attorney and law blogger, Marshall Dyer, has provided an excellent summary of Oklahoma foreclosure law.

Dyer explains that the foreclosure process begins with the filing of a petition in the county where the property is located. A big mistake many homeowners make, he said, is failing to file an answer by the specified deadline.

If you are facing the threat of foreclosure, you may need the help of an attorney to understand your options. As Dyer says in his blog post, for help with foreclosure it is usually best to turn to a lawyer in your county. Contact our office for a referral to a good attorney in your Oklahoma community.