New Jersey's Atlantic County led U.S. metropolitan areas in foreclosures during the first quarter of 2015, according to new data.
The Southern New Jersey area, which includes Atlantic City, had a foreclosure filing for one of every 113 housing units in the first three months of 2015 for a 46% increase compared to the year earlier period, according to RealtyTrac. In March, the county incurred foreclosures in one out of 252 homes, a 165% jump from a year before, the RealtyTrac data shows. The median sales price of a non-distressed home in Atlantic County was $159,000 in February compared to $110,500 for a foreclosure home.
Atlantic County, which is rated Aa2 by Moody's Investors Service, had a population of 274,549 in the 2010 Census including 39,558 in Atlantic City, a gambling hub in the midst of serious financial struggles. Four of Atlantic City's casinos closed in 2014 with gambling revenues declining 46% from 2015 to 2014, according to Moody's. The city, which Moody's downgraded to Caa1 in late January after an emergency manager was appointed to oversee its finances, is facing a $101 million budget gap in 2015.
New Jersey's foreclosure rate was up 17% from the 2014 first quarter and had the fifth highest foreclosure rate in the nation among U.S. states, according to the RealtyTrac data. The Garden State's foreclosure filing rate for March was 76% higher than February and up 106% from a year earlier.