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Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

NEW ORLEANS More than 1,200 homes in New Orleans are in some stage of foreclosure, according to http://www.realtytrac.com.

The California-based website tracks real estate trends in 203 markets throughout the country.

In July, the number of homes in the foreclosure process was up 3 percent over the same time last year, according to realtytrac.com, bucking a national trend in which the number of foreclosure proceedings went down.

'Especially in the last few months, we've gotten more and more calls from people who are very nervous about their homes getting foreclosing upon,' said Jack Jernigan, a New Orleans bankruptcy attorney.

There are a number of reasons homes are going into foreclosure, Jernigan said. In some cases, it has to do with issues stemming from Hurricane Katrina

'Some people took out second and even third mortgages to help them rebuild, and that's very difficult to maintain over the long run,' he said.

The Small Business Association appears to be getting more aggressive about demanding on-time payment of post-Katrina loans, Jernigan said.

Another big issue is apparent misinformation from lending companies, Jernigan said. He said many homeowners calling him decided to default on their mortgage because they were told it was the only way to modify their loan.

According to Jernigan, that's not true.

Realtytrac.com also shows the number foreclosure filings in New Orleans were up three and a half times in July over the month before. But while foreclosures are normally a sign of a weak market, real estate experts say that's not the case for New Orleans.

'All the other indicators for real estate in N.O. have been extremely positive,' said Ivan Miestchovich, Ph.D., director of the University of New Orleans Real Estate Market Data Center.

New Orleans is unique, said Miestchovich, because it didn't experience the same housing crisis as other parts of the country, since people were rebuilding after Katrina during that time.

'A lot of those markets we're being compared to went through foreclosure hell,' said Miestchovich.

And while realtytrac.com shows the number of foreclosure filings went up month to month, the number of foreclosures completed stayed about the same from June to July, according to the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors.

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