The Hilo housing market continues to be adversely affected by high rates of foreclosures and destabilized by the uncertainty of the ongoing foreclosure fraud investigations. The investigation in particular has called the status of many foreclosures into question. An October 13, 2010 article from KITV 4 News found that “Hawaii is joining the other 49 states in a massive investigation into whether major mortgage lenders committed foreclosure fraud. Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett said he suspects there have been abuses here, partly because, he said, state laws may make it too easy to for someone to lose their home. In California some homeowners challenging foreclosures have physically taken back their homes. Many believe they now have an advantage over the mortgage company in court -- because of revelations that foreclosure fraud by lenders may have affected thousands of homeowners across the country. Lenders including Chase and Bank of America confirmed they had people signing off on foreclosure paperwork for the lenders without any real review of the documents. Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett said that kind of behavior could cause a foreclosure to be reversed. “There have been foreclosure abuses across America,” Bennett said. “Likely Hawaii, as well…”

For the moment, however, it appears that the foreclosure investigation will have a delayed effect on Hilo homes for sale, as the third quarter foreclosure rate for the state increased by nearly fifty percent. According to an October 14, 2010 report from Pacific Business News, “The number of properties in Hawaii with foreclosure actions jumped 48 percent in the third quarter when compared to the same quarter in 2009, ranking the state 10th in the nation, according to the latest statistics from RealtyTrac. There were 4,060 properties with foreclosure filings — including notices of default, trustee sales and bank-owned properties — during the July-September period, or a rate of one per every 126 housing units. September alone saw a 67 percent increase in filings on Hawaii properties over the same month in 2009, ranking the state ninth in the nation. There were a total of 1,617 properties with foreclosure filings last month, or one per every 317 housing units.”