National Foreclosure Activity Gradually Subsiding; Many States Remain Distressed

by devteam August 9th, 2012 | Share

Foreclosure activity appears to finallyrnbe on a downward track, although the road is still a rough one in many states.   The RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report</bfor shows that foreclosure filings were down 3 percent in July compared to Junernand were 10 percent lower than in July 2011. rnThis was the 22nd consecutive month that the annual raterndeclined.  One in every 686 U.S. housingrnunits in the country received some type of foreclosure filing during the month,rna total of 191,925 filings.  Filingsrnincreased in many states and metropolitan areas and in some cases are multiple-multiplesrnof the national per-unit rate. </p

RealtyTrac is an Irvine, California firmrnthat tracks three categories of foreclosure filings gathered from county levelrnsources.  </p<ol type="1" start="1"

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

    While the total numbers were down notrnall types of filings decreased.  Much ofrnthe annual decline was driven by a 21 percent year-over-year drop in bankrnrepossessions or REO while foreclosure starts increased on an annual basis forrnthe third straight month. </p

    Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac vicernpresident said, state figures were also uneven. rn”Recent foreclosure activity patterns varyrnsignificantly from state to state, often hinging on the level of dysfunctionrnthat exists in each state’s foreclosure process. In states like Florida,rnIllinois and New Jersey, where processing and procedural issues slowedrnforeclosure activity to a crawl last year, foreclosure numbers continue tornrebound off those artificially low levels. But in states like Texas, Arizonarnand Virginia, where the average time to foreclose is well below the nationalrnaverage of 378 days, foreclosure activity continues on a long-term downwardrntrend.</p

    There were 98,174rnforeclosure starts, default or auction notices filed during July, a 6 percentrndecrease from the previous month but still up 6 percent from the same month inrn2011.  Starts also increased annually inrn27 states including 16 judicial states and 11 where foreclosures are processedrnoutside of the court system.   Some ofrnthe judicial process states had extremely large annual increases in foreclosurernstates including Connecticut (201 percent), New Jersey (164rnpercent), Pennsylvania (139 percent), Indiana (83 percent), and Massachusettsrn(65 percent).   Big jumps were also notedrnin some non-judicial states such as New Hampshire (55 percent), Missouri (39 percent), and Alabamarn(35 percent).  </p

    Lenders completedrn53,654 foreclosures in July, down 1 percent from June and 21 percent from arnyear earlier.  This was the 21st</supconsecutive month when REO activity was down on an annual basis.  There was an annual decline noted in 38rnstates and the District of Columbia with the largest decreases in Nevada (71rnpercent) and Virginia (65 percent.)   California, Washington, and Georgia also hadrnnotable decreases.  There were also a fewrnstates, all using the judicial process, where REO activity increased annual includingrnFlorida (38 percent), Ohio (25 percent), Illinois (22 percent), and New Jerseyrn(21 percent.</p

    “Recent legislationrnand court rulings could lengthen the foreclosure process in some of the statesrnwith the shorter timelines, however, resulting in a temporary foreclosure lullrnand subsequent rebound in those states as well,” Blomquist continued. “Case inrnpoint is a new Oregon law that took effect in July and gives homeowners inrndefault – or at risk of default – the right to request mediation to avoidrnforeclosure. Oregon foreclosure activity dropped 42 percent from June to July,rnhitting a five-year low, but we would expect the Oregon numbers to trend backrnhigher sometime in the next several months based on the pattern we’ve seen inrnother states with similar legislation.” </p

    Nevada finally fellrnout of its long held position as one of the top three states, and almost alwaysrnnumber one, for foreclosure activity, falling to sixth place.  California had an 11 percent decrease inrnfilings but still ranked as the state with the highest percentage ofrnforeclosure activity with one in every 325 housing units receiving a filingrnduring the month, more than twice the national average.  </p

    Arizona was the secondrnmost active state despite both annual and monthly declines with a filing on onernin 346 units and Florida, with a 14 month increase since both June and Julyrn2011, rose from sixth to third in foreclosure activity with one in every 352rnunits receiving a notice.</p

    The most beleagueredrnmetropolitan areas were in California.   In Stockton, which recently filed bankruptcy, onernin every 153 units, more than four times the national average, received arnfiling, and the metro areas of Vallejo-Fairfield and Riverside-SanrnBernardino-Ontario had respective rates of one in every 185 units and 187 unitsrnrespectively.  The last area has been inrnthe news because of a decision by the governing boards of San Bernardino Countyrnand the city of Ontario to use their right of eminent domain to seize andrnrestructure underwater mortgages.  </p


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  • About the Author


    Steven A Feinberg (@CPAsteve) of Appletree Business Services LLC, is a PASBA member accountant located in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

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