Total Foreclosure Filings Drop; Bank Repos Set New High

Foreclosure salesForeclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 333,837 properties in April, a 9 percent decrease from the previous month and a 2 percent decrease from April 2009, according to RealtyTrac’s monthly update.
It was the first year-over-year drop since RealtyTrac started tracking foreclosure filings in January 2006.
The California-based real estate firm said April’s figures signal the beginning of a possible plateau in activity, but filings remain at a high level and foreclosure mitigation efforts by the government and private mortgage relief programs by lenders are only delaying the inevitable for many homeowners.
Bank repossessions (REOs) hit a record monthly high for April, with a total of 92,432 properties repossessed by lenders during the month — an increase of 1 percent from the previous month and an increase of 45 percent from April 2009. Bank repossessions were less than 1 percent over the previous high of 92,182 in December 2009.
The reverse was true for defaults. A total of 103,762 properties received default notices, a decrease of 12 percent from the previous month and a decrease of 27 percent from April 2009 — when defaults peaked at more than 142,000.
Increasing repossessions and a leveling off in defaults is expected to continue.
“We expect a similar pattern to continue for most of this year, with the overall numbers staying at a high level and ripples of activity hitting the various stages of the foreclosure process as lenders systematically work through the backlog of distressed properties,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.
Foreclosure auctions were scheduled for the first time on a total of 137,643 properties in April, a decrease of 13 percent from the previous month — when auction activity peaked at more than 158,000 properties.
Nevada saw the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 40th straight month, with one in every 69 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in April — more than five times the national average.
Arizona foreclosure filings decreased almost 15 percent from the previous month, but the state’s ranking moved from third highest in March to second highest in April because of an even bigger decrease (25 percent) in California.
Florida posted the nation’s third highest foreclosure rate, with one in every 182 properties receiving a foreclosure filing, despite a 25 percent drop in activity in April compared to the previous month.
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