Foreclosure sales in Minnesota increased by 11 percent in 2010, according to a report released Thursday by the Minnesota Home Ownership Center and other groups.
The report shows there were 25,673 foreclosure sales in 2010, compared to 23,092 in 2009. The 2010 number is the second highest on record after the 26,251 foreclosure sales that occurred in 2008, the report said.
The report analyzed sheriff's sale data from all Minnesota counties.
The groups said a decline in foreclosure sales late last year due to concerns about banks not having proper paperwork to approve foreclosures didn't translate into fewer foreclosure sales overall for 2010.
"Even with the slowdown in the number of foreclosure sales that were completed in the fourth quarter, the number of Minnesota families losing their home to foreclosure in 2010 was still four to five times higher than what we saw before the start of the crisis," Julie Gugin, executive director of the Minnesota Home Ownership Center, said in a news release.
Ed Nelson, the center's spokesman, blamed the economic downturn for the high number of foreclosure sales.
"Our numbers show that the No. 1 driver for foreclosure is unemployment and underemployment, so a loss of income in the household or a complete job loss in the household," he said. "Until we start seeing sustained job growth in Minnesota, we will continue to see elevated numbers of foreclosures."
Several bigger counties saw double-digit increases in foreclosure sales, the report said.
The number of foreclosure sales in Dakota County was up by 15 percent from 2009 to 2010, Sherburne County saw a 19 percent increase and St. Louis County had a 34 percent increase.
Nelson encouraged struggling homeowners to seek free help through the center's network of nonprofit organizations.
"Even though these numbers are still dramatically high ... homeowners need to know that they don't need to face this alone," Nelson said.
The other groups involved in publishing the report are the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, and the Minnesota Housing and Family Housing Fund. HousingLink provided the research.