Econintersect: Foreclosure gate has slowed the progression of foreclosure actions in the fourth quarter 2010. Realty Trac reports that there were fewer foreclosure filings year-over-year for December and for the entire quarter. This has occurred even though home prices have drifted back toward cycle lows putting more pressure on underwater home owners (homeowners who owe more than the house is worth). Court problems for banks seeking foreclosures are blamed for the decline.Realty Trac reports as follows:
a total of 3,825,637 foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on a record 2,871,891 U.S. properties in 2010, an increase of nearly 2 percent from 2009 and an increase of 23 percent from 2008. The report also shows that 2.23 percent of all U.S. housing units (one in 45) received at least one foreclosure filing during the year, up from 2.21 percent in 2009, 1.84 percent in 2008, 1.03 percent in 2007 and 0.58 percent in 2006.
Foreclosure filings were reported on 257,747 U.S. properties in December, a decrease of nearly 2 percent from the previous month and down 26 percent from December 2009 — the biggest annual drop in foreclosure activity since RealtyTrac began publishing its foreclosure report in January 2005 and giving December the lowest monthly total since June 2008.
December Default notices (NOD, LIS) decreased 4 percent from the previous month and were down 35 percent from December 2009; Scheduled foreclosure auctions (NTS, NFS) decreased 3 percent from the previous month and were down 20 percent from December 2009; and bank repossessions (REO) increased nearly 4 percent from the previous month — thanks in part to substantial month-over-month increases in some states such as Nevada (71 percent increase), Arizona (52 percent increase) and California (47 percent increase) — but were still down 24 percent from December 2009.
Foreclosure filings were reported on 799,064 U.S. properties in the fourth quarter, a 14 percent decrease from the previous quarter and an 8 percent decrease from the fourth quarter of 2009. The fourth quarter total was the lowest quarterly total since Q4 2008.
“Total properties receiving foreclosure filings would have easily exceeded 3 million in 2010 had it not been for the fourth quarter drop in foreclosure activity — triggered primarily by the continuing controversy surrounding foreclosure documentation and procedures that prompted many major lenders to temporarily halt some foreclosure proceedings,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Even so, 2010 foreclosure activity still hit a record high for our report, and many of the foreclosure proceedings that were stopped in late 2010 — which we estimate may be as high as a quarter million — will likely be re-started and add to the numbers in early 2011.”
Nevada, Arizona, Florida post top state foreclosure rates
More than 9 percent of Nevada housing units (one in 11) received at least one foreclosure filing in 2010, giving it the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the fourth consecutive year despite a 5 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from 2009. Nevada foreclosure activity in December increased 18 percent from the previous month and was up 14 percent from December 2009. Fourth quarter foreclosure activity in Nevada decreased nearly 7 percent from the previous quarter but increased 19 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009.
Arizona registered the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate for the second year in a row, with 5.73 percent of its housing units (one in 17) receiving at least one foreclosure filing in 2010, and Florida registered the nation’s third highest foreclosure rate, with 5.51 percent of its housing units (one in 18) receiving at least one foreclosure filing during the year.
Other states with 2010 foreclosure rates ranking among the nation’s 10 highest were California (4.08 percent), Utah (3.44 percent), Georgia (3.25 percent), Michigan (3.00 percent), Idaho (2.98 percent), Illinois (2.87 percent), and Colorado (2.51 percent).
California, Florida, Arizona, Illinois and Michigan account for half of national total
Five states accounted for 51 percent of the nation’s total foreclosure activity in 2010: California, Florida, Arizona, Illinois and Michigan. Together these five states documented nearly 1.5 million properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the year despite annual decreases in the three states with the most foreclosure activity.
A total of 546,669 California properties received a foreclosure filing in 2010, a decrease of nearly 14 percent from 2009 but still the largest state total. After hitting a two-year low in November, California foreclosure activity rebounded nearly 15 percent higher in December but was still down 18 percent from December 2009.
Florida posted the nation’s second biggest total in 2010, with 485,286 properties receiving a foreclosure filing — a 6 percent decrease from 2009. Florida foreclosure activity in December hit the lowest monthly level since July 2007, down 22 percent from the previous month and down nearly 54 percent from December 2009.
A total of 155,878 Arizona properties received a foreclosure filing in 2010, a 4 percent decrease from 2009 but the third biggest state total for the third straight year. Arizona foreclosure activity in December jumped nearly 31 percent higher from a 32-month low in November, but was still down nearly 33 percent from December 2009.
Illinois posted the fourth biggest state total, with 151,304 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in 2010, and Michigan posted the fifth biggest state total, with 135,874 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the year. Foreclosure activity in both states increased about 15 percent from 2009.
Other states with 2010 totals among the 10 biggest in the country were Georgia (130,966), Texas (118,923), Ohio (108,160), Nevada (106,160), and New Jersey (64,808).
Source: Realty Trac.….