Home foreclosures surge

Record number of North Carolinians face losing homes, data say.

More than 45,500 North Carolina homeowners faced foreclosure filings on their homes last year, a jump of 6 percent to hit an all-time high, new data say.

The surge in filings is the result of predatory lending practices by mortgage companies, says the North Carolina Justice Center, which compiled the statistics.

In Dare County, the number of foreclosure filings soared by almost half in 2006, while filings in Cleveland County were up almost a quarter.

Since 1998, filings for the state as a whole ballooned 174 percent, with Nash County leading the way, with an increase of 279 percent, followed by Wake County, with 276 percent.

The Justice Center and other advocates are calling on state lawmakers to strengthen laws against predatory lending activities, increase criminal penalties for lawbreakers and expand rights for homeowners facing foreclosure proceedings.

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