New Castle County Executive Paul Clark has issued an executive order designed to reduce the number of residential foreclosures in the county.
Homeowners will not face foreclosure because of back taxes as long as they enter into a good faith payment plan under the new order. “New Castle County does not have a large sum of money available to directly assist homeowners with mortgage difficulties, but we want to do our part to address this very serious issue,” Clark said.
He’s also trying to get County Council to approve an amnesty program for residents who owe back taxes. Under his plan, property owners with back taxes due could pay in full by May 31 and have all outstanding penalties waived.
The effort comes at a time when the county is still facing a significant number of foreclosures. “Our figures show that average housing prices in New Castle County declined again in 2011, for the fourth straight year,” Clark said. That means that many homeowners may owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. NCCo Department of Land Use figures show the average sales price of homes in the county declined to $235,000 in 2011 from $246,000 in 2010.
The foreclosure moratorium only applies to owner-occupied primary residences, not to vacant properties.