Jefferson County had the third-highest number of failed mortgages last year, as well as during the past five years combined.
"Berkeley County and Jefferson County, in addition to the high-population counties, have been two of the counties more affected by a decrease in house price value," Boggess told lawmakers at Tuesday's meeting. "West Virginia as a whole has not suffered from that, but the Eastern Panhandle tends to rely on the [Washington] D.C. marketplace, so they've seen some numbers we haven't seen across the rest of the state."
Webster County reported the fewest number of foreclosures last year -- four.
Of the West Virginians who did default on their home loans, more than 30 percent said they couldn't pay their mortgage because they lost their jobs or household income declined for other reasons, according to survey data from the Housing Development Fund.
Another 28 percent said they had "excessive obligations" or debt, according to the report. "Families run themselves into credit difficulties," Fisher said.
In other cases, lenders simply were unable to contact homeowners who held mortgages, he said.
The foreclosure process doesn't start until after three missed mortgage payments.
Since 2007, more than 16,600 homes have been foreclosed on in West Virginia, according to the Housing Development Fund's report.
"Foreclosure results when there's a breakdown in communication between the lender and borrower," Fisher said. "It's a family-by-family issue. We have to take each family individually and craft a solution."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.