The number of foreclosures by lenders on homes financed with Veterans Administration-backed loans has increased sharply this year in the Washington area, although the rate is still far below the national average.
Similarly the number of delinquencies (payments two to three months in arrears) has also risen, but still remains below the average nationwide, VA officials said.
"From a national standpoint (the Washington increase) is not a serious problems," said Raymond L. Brodie, assistant director for loan management of the VA's Loan Guarantee Service. "But of course we are concerned about any increase.
Of the 9.5 million VA loans on single-family homes closed since the program began 1944, 3.7 per cent of them have resulted in claims by lenders. (The VA usually pays a claim as the result of a foreclosure.) In this area the number of lender claims rose from 17 between January and August 1976, to 65 in the same period this year. The increase in loan volume during that time was 40 per cent.
This means that the percentage of foreclosures to loans made increased from 0.28 to 0.77 per cent here, but still well below the 3.7 per cent average. By comparison it rose from 0.4 to one per cent in Baltimore, although it decreased in Philadelphia from 46 per cent to 3.5 per cent.
According to the metropolitan VA office, 45 per cent of the foreclosures took place in Northern Virginia, 40 per cent in Suburban Maryland, and 15 per cent in the District. The District's Recorder of Deeds office, whre foreclosure information is kept, reports on increase in the total number of foreclosures thus far this year over last.
Delinquencies of more than two or three months (that do not necessarily end in foreclosure) rose 74 per cent, from 707 to 1231 in the Washington area. This was about double the increase in Baltimore.
As a percentage of loans made, Washington area delinquencies stood at 15 per cent, or half the Philadelphia rate during the first eight months of 1977.
There are almost twice as many VA loans outstanding in Washington, 112,570 as of August this year, as in Baltimore, and half again as many as in Philadelphia. There was 8,377 loans closed in Washington during the first eight months of 1977, compared with 7,781 in Philadelphia and 4,729 in Baltimore.
The reasons both the foreclosure and delinquency rates have traditionally been low in the Capital area are the high turn-over and constantly appreciating, property, VA officials said. The increases in this area were not attributed by Brodie to any special phenomenon, but rather to the cost of living rises that affect all homeowners plus the usual family and financial difficulties.