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Sullivan County led Tennessee in 2008 foreclosures rate increase

Sharon Hayes • Feb 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Sullivan County posted the largest increase in foreclosure filings in Tennessee in 2008.According to the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, foreclosure filings in Sullivan County jumped from 20 in 2007 to 234 in 2008 — representing an increase of more than 1,000 percent.Foreclosure filings in Hawkins County rose from 120 in 2007 to 222 last year, up 85 percent.In Washington County, foreclosure filings increased 65 percent, jumping from 251 in 2007 to 414 last year.Across the state, 44,153 foreclosure filings were reported in 2008, up 70 percent from 2007. Tennessee ranked 12th in the nation for the number of foreclosures in 2008, as one foreclosure filing was reported for every 61 households in the state last y e a r.Foreclosure filings in three counties — Davidson, Knox and Shelby — made up half of all foreclosure filings in the state in 2008. Shelby County reported the highest number of foreclosures, with 15,516 cases, or 3.94 percent of households.Of all the states, Nevada had the highest foreclosure filing rate in 2008, with one filing for every 14 households.The Tennessee Housing Development Agency implemented a foreclosure prevention initiative in 2007 to help struggling homeowners. THDA Executive Director Ted R. Fellman said his agency posted foreclosure prevention information on its Web site and secured a federal grant to train counselors and make presentations wherever invited. THDA provides free counseling, and information is available on refinancing options for eligible homeowners. “Our goal is to educate homeowners about their options and how prompt action is more effective in saving a mortgage,” said Fellman. He pointed out that Congress is considering additional measures to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. “Foreclosure is bad for the owner, the neighborhood and the i n d u s t ry,” he said.

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