Wednesday, April 14, 2010

U.S. Foreclosure Filings Rise

¹²U.S. Foreclosure Filings Rise 16% As Bank Seizures Set Record

By Dan Levy | 15 April 2010

April 15 (Bloomberg)— Foreclosure filings in the U.S. rose 16 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier and bank seizures hit a record as lenders stepped up action against delinquent homeowners, according to RealtyTrac Inc. A total of 932,234 homes, or one out of every 138 households, received a default or auction notice, or were repossessed by banks, the Irvine, California-based firm said today. In March, filings rose 8 percent to the most in any month since RealtyTrac began publishing reports in January 2005.

"The banks are finally working through it," Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac's executive vice president for marketing, said in a telephone interview. "We're seeing a resolution for properties that were in foreclosure but where seizure was delayed". Unemployed and "underwater" homeowners, or those who owe more than their property is worth, are driving foreclosures.

The U.S. jobless rate was 9.7 percent in March, unchanged for a third month, the Labor Department reported April 2. More than a fifth of mortgaged homes were underwater in the fourth quarter, according to real estate data firm Bank repossessions climbed to 257,944 in the quarter. Scheduled auctions totaled 369,491, also the most since RealtyTrac began releasing data.

2010 Forecast

RealtyTrac is forecasting more than 1 million bank seizures this year and at least 4 million foreclosure filings, both potential records. Foreclosures won't level off until next year, Sharga said. Foreclosure prevention efforts such as the U.S. Treasury's Making Home Affordable Program may have "slowed down the normal foreclosure timeline," James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac's chief executive officer, said in today's report.

The number of homes seized by lenders rose 35 percent from a year earlier, RealtyTrac said. Auctions increased 21 percent from the same period in 2009. RealtyTrac reported 304,799 default notices in the quarter, down 1 percent from a year earlier. The number peaked at more than 342,000 in the third quarter of 2009.

Nevada's Top Rate

Nevada had the highest foreclosure filing rate for the 14th straight quarter. One in every 33 households got a notice— more than four times the national average. A total of 34,557 Nevada homes got filings, down 16 percent from a year earlier, RealtyTrac said.

Arizona had the second-highest rate at one in 49 households, three times the national average. Florida ranked third with one in 57 households and California was fourth at one in 62. Utah ranked fifth, with one in 88 households, and had the biggest annual increase— 75 percent— among the states with the ten highest rates.

The following is a list of the 10 states with the most foreclosure filings in the first quarter:

State Filings Rate Per Household
California 216,263 1 in 62
Florida 153,540 1 in 57
Arizona 55,686 1 in 49
Illinois 45,780 1 in 155
Michigan 45,732 1 in 99
Georgia 39,911 1 in 101
Texas 37,354 1 in 257
Nevada 34,557 1 in 33
Ohio 33,221 1 in 153
Colorado 16,023 1 in 134

Source: RealtyTrac

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