Stagnant wages hits home in Lynn

Daily ItemBy Thomas Grillo | The Daily Item

LYNN — Despite the lowest unemployment rate in 15 years, the number of Lynn homeowners facing foreclosure grew by nearly 24 percent since January as families continue to struggle to pay their mortgage, according to The Warren Group, the Boston-based real estate tracker.

Lenders filed 161 petitions to foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, through August, compared with 130 for the same period last year.

During the first eight months of this year, 59 homes were seized by lenders, up from 47 last year, a 25.5 percent increase.

Still, there was some good news in the data. The number of petitions in Lynn fell to 17 in August, down from 23 for the same month last year, a 26 percent drop.

“Foreclosure starts are finally starting to calm as the summer comes to a close,” said Timothy Warren, CEO of The Warren Group, in a statement. “To some extent improving economy, strong job creation and a robust real estate market have curtailed foreclosure starts. And perhaps the clogged pipeline of old delinquent mortgages has reached a steady or slower flow.”

The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent in August, down from 4.7 percent at the start of the year. The last time the Bay State jobless rate was this low was in August 2001.

Barry Bluestone, professor of public policy at Northeastern University, said wages have been stagnant until recently. As a result, he said many families can’t keep up with their mortgage payments.

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