Foreclosure Slowdown a Factor of Delays and Prevention Policies


activity dropped significantly again in July according to figures released on
Thursday by RealtyTrac, however the Irvine California firm states that this is
not as much a sign of economic improvement as it is an indication of a growing

filings were reported on 212,764 U.S. properties in July, one in every 611
housing units.  This is a decrease of 4
percent from the June figures and a drop of 35 percent from July 2010.  However, according to RealtyTrac CEO James J.
Saccacio, “Unfortunately, the
falloff in foreclosures is not based on a robust recovery in the housing market
but on short-term interventions and delays that will extend the current housing
market woes into 2012 and beyond.  A
stabilizing economy and improving job market are the
long-term keys to a housing market recovery.” 

The foreclosure
information is contained in its regular U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, in
which RealtyTrac relies on a database derived from a nationwide survey of
foreclosure filings in three categories:

  1. Notice of Default (NOD)
    and Lis Pendens (LIS). This is the first legal notification from a lender that
    the borrower on a mortgage loan has defaulted under the terms of their mortgage
    and the lender intends to foreclose unless the loan is brought current.
  2. Auction – Notice of Trustee Sale and Notice of
    Foreclosure Sale (NTS and NFS)
    if the borrower does not catch up on their payments the lender will file a
    notice of sale (the lender intends to sell the property). This notice is
    published in local paper and contains information pertaining to the date, time
    and subject property address.
  3. Real Estate Owned or REO properties
    : “REO” stands for “real estate owned” and typically refers
    to the inventory of real estate that banks and mortgage companies have
    foreclosed on and subsequently purchased through the foreclosure auction if
    there was no offer higher than the minimum bid.

in all three categories were down from the previous month and the same period a
year earlier.  Notices of Default and LIS
were filed for the first time on a total of 59,516 properties, down 7 percent
from June and a 39 percent decline from June 2010.  Default notices have declined 58 percent since
hitting a monthly peak of 142,064 in April 2009.

auctions were scheduled for 85,419 homes, a 36 month low.  The figure was down 5 percent from June and a
year-over-year decrease of 37 percent. 
Foreclosures were completed on 67,829 properties (REO), down one percent
in a month and 27 percent lower than the previous June.  REOs were 34 percent below the peak in
repossessions (102,134) in September 2010, just before the robo-signing
controversy sparked nationwide foreclosure moratoria.

“July foreclosure activity dropped 35 percent
from a year ago, marking the 10th straight month of year-over-year
decreases in foreclosure activity and the lowest monthly total since November
2007,” Saccacio said.   “This string of decreases was initially
triggered by the robo-signing controversy back in October 2010, which forced
lenders to substantially slow the pace of foreclosing, but the downward trend
in foreclosure activity has now taken on a life of its own. It appears that the
foreclosure processing delays, combined with the smorgasbord of national and
state-level foreclosure prevention efforts
– including loan modifications,
lender-borrower mediations and mortgage payment assistance for the unemployed –
may be allowing more distressed homeowners to stave off foreclosure. 

Saccacio is correct that movement through the foreclosure pipeline has slowed
dramatically and the backlog serious delinquencies and shadow inventory of REO
are growing, every foreclosure report issued in the last few months regardless
of its source, has shown a steady decline of delinquencies, and defaults, and
thus fewer homeowners entering that pipeline. 

continues to hold on to first place among states suffering the highest levels
of foreclosure filings.  A total of 9,930
properties received a filing in July, one in every 115 housing units.  This is, however, a 1 percent
month-over-month decrease and a 28 percent drop year-over year.  This is the 55th straight month
Nevada has led the nation in the ratio of filings.

and Arizona had the second and third highest rates.  California logged 56,193 filings, one in every
239 housing units, a 4 percent decrease since June and a 16 percent drop since
June 2010.  Arizona, which spent the
seven previous months in second place, dropped a spot after a 25 percent
reduction in filings since June.  There
were 10,098 filings, one in every 273 housing units a 39 percent decrease in
one year.

states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 were Georgia, Utah,
Florida, Michigan, Idaho, Illinois and Wisconsin.

activity continues to be relatively localized; ten states account for 73
percent of all foreclosures filed. 
California’s total of 56,193 was the highest number reported by any
state followed by Florida with 22,377 (but still a 57 percent drop from June
2010), Georgia (11,461), Michigan (10,894), and Illinois (10,571).  Georgia and Illinois numbers were driven by
large increases in REO activity; 25 percent and 16 percent respectively. 


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