VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY)- Foreclosures in Virginia are up 175% from this time last year, according to Better Homes and Garden Real Estate Broker Susan Jenkins, as pandemic-era loan forgiveness programs come to an end and purse strings tighten.

“What’s occurring is the current owner of the property has defaulted on the payments. We understand is  there is a lot that’s going on in our current economy that’s causing that. Inflation is a big part of it  people are really running up credit card debts and dipping into their 401k’s just to make ends meet,” Jenkins said. “Even though we have seen historic lows in interest rates, it’s still becoming difficult for some people to make those house payments.”

Jenkins said that if you’re worried about making mortgage payments, or if you begin to get foreclosure notices, you should contact your lender. She said lenders can work to keep you in your home, through loan modifications and other measures.

“They’ll offer the possibility of modifying the loan if that’s still an option, she said. “And the possibility of reselling your house.”

She said that while the housing market has cooled off in recent months, home values remain high.

“We do find people we say are cash-poor, but equity rich. The prices of homes have increased so dramatically over the last two years. There’s a lot of equity in your house,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins recommends that people facing foreclosure should take advantage of resources such as those available through HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac. She said realtors can also mediate discussions with lenders, and assist in preparing your home for the market.

“There are so many options that are available to them but its coming past that fear and lack of knowledge and asking the tough questions,” she said.