Among houses foreclosed and up for auction in New Jersey’s Bergen County, it turns out that one out of every eight is owned by a Korean.
The Korea Times analyzed the Foreclosure Sales Listing from the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office by searching Korean last names. It found that of the houses put up for auction between August and Nov. 24 this year, 62 of them were owned by Koreans. This means that 12.86 percent of the 482 foreclosed houses belonged to a Korean resident.
According to the 2010 Census, the Korean population in Bergen County is only 6.3 percent. Relative to this amount, experts said, the rate of seized houses is far higher than any other community.
Among those 62 houses, 17 of them were already sold or the auction was canceled and the rest of the 45 houses are scheduled to be auctioned off between Nov. 30 and March of next year.
These houses are spread through various areas where Koreans live. Palisades Park has nine houses, the highest of all the regions. Ridgefield has six, Fort Lee and Leonia have four each, Closter has three, and Englewood, Old Tappan, Tenafly, Northvale, Norwood, and Cresskill have two each.
Categorized by declared value, five of the houses cost more than $1 million, 18 are between $500,000 and $990,000, 20 are between $100,000 and $490,000, and two are less than $100,000. The most expensive house is in Cresskill, owned by Mr. H, which costs $3.46 million.
Real estate experts explained that many houses owned by Koreans have been foreclosed because a lot of people bought houses likely beyond their means before the 2008 crisis, and Koreans have refinanced more than any other ethnic group. As a result, many of them couldn’t afford to pay their mortgage.
Translated by Somi Park from Korean, originally from Korean Times