New Law Drives Down DC Suburb Foreclosures

Officials: Changes in housing market not a factor

The number of foreclosures in Maryland's Washington suburbs has declined, but officials attribute the drop to a new state law, rather than changes in the housing market.

In Prince George's County, the number of foreclosures dropped 13.8 percent from the first quarter of 2008 to the second quarter, when there were fewer than 2,900. Meanwhile, Montgomery County saw a 20 percent decline to about 1,300.

State and local housing officials say the drop-off is due to changes in the law. Lenders now have to wait 90 days after a homeowner initially defaults before foreclosure proceedings can begin. Another 45 days must pass before the home can be sold.

Before the change, the foreclosure period had been two weeks.

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