Millions of homes have gone into foreclosure in the past two years, and it seems that God’s houses also are starting to fall victim to the recession.
Nearly 200 American houses of worship experienced foreclosure or short sales in the past five years, and the numbers seem to be growing rapidly, said Chris Macke, a spokesman for the CoStar Group, a real estate analysis company.
In 2006, only two churches in the United States lost their buildings to foreclosure or short sale, Macke said. By 2009, the number had grown to 61, and there were 95 in 2010.
While that number is small, “what caught our attention was the rate of increase year over year,” Macke said. “What we’re seeing is religious real estate and secular real estate are subject to the same laws of economics.”
The recession has forced many southern New Jersey congregations to make do with less, as members don’t have as much money to tithe or put in the collection basket as they did in more prosperous times. But some congregations are hit harder than others.