Foreclosures falling - not
The number of homes receiving foreclosure filings, default notices, auctions, and repossessions, fell 17% in January compared to a year earlier, RealtyTrac reported today. But that's still 261,333 properties and a 1% increase compared to December. Even with the slowdown, more than 78,000 borrowers lost their homes in January, easing off the record 102,000 that was reached last September. Besides, it's less a sign of a robust housing recovery and more a sign that lenders have become bogged down in reviewing procedures, resubmitting paperwork and formulating legal arguments related to accusations of improper foreclosure processing.
"We expect a spike in the first quarter," said Rick Sharga, a RealtyTrac spokesman. "If we don't get that, it could mean that the foreclosures are being pushed back even more and that the time needed for recovery will be prolonged." There was a bit of a shakeup among the individual states at the top of RealtyTrac's hardest-hit states. Florida, which had been outpacing all others for years, fell to ninth place in January, with a rate of one in ever 409 homes receiving a filing. Year-over-year, filings are off by 54% in the Sunshine State. Now, the seven states with the highest rate of foreclosure filings in January were all in non-judicial states, where foreclosure auctions can be scheduled and homes repossessed without any court hearing. Nevada led the states for the 49th consecutive month; Arizona was second and California third. Idaho and Utah filled out the top five worst-hit states. Among metro areas of more than 200,000 residents, Las Vegas had, as usual, the highest
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