NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey still has the most foreclosures in the country, but things are improving.

As WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported Thursday, nearly 70,000 properties went through foreclosure in New Jersey last year while the rest of the country experienced 12-year lows.

READ MORE: COVID In New York: Variants Blamed For Nearly Half Of New Infections In Past Week

“There was a lot of lending that was being done that was not sustainable for these homeowners,” said Wayne Meyer of New Jersey Community Capital.

READ MORE: Police: Long Island Man Gave Woman His License After Breaking Into Her Hotel Room, Stealing Money

Most of the properties in foreclosure were mortgaged in 2004 and 2008, Meyer said. He also said New Jersey is a judicial foreclosure state, so it is taking three years for homes even to start the process – and there has been a backlog for years.

The key, he said, is to keep families in their homes while figuring out a way to accelerate the process for vacant properties.

MORE NEWS: COVID Vaccine In New York: Walk-In Appointments Offered To All New Yorkers Over 50 At City-Run Sites

“Nothing good happens when a foreclosed stays vacant in a community,” Meyer said.