Foreclosure Filings Down Again, Driven by 21% Drop in Bank Repos

Foreclosure filings were reported on 191,925 U.S. properties in July, a decline of 3 percent from the previous month and a decrease of 10 percent from July 2011, according to RealtyTrac’s monthy update.
The declines were mainly driven by a 21 percent year-over-year plunge in bank repossessions.
U.S. foreclosure activity has now registered annual decreases for 22 straight months.
However, there are signs pointing to a pick-up in activity as foreclosures unwind that have been mired in legal limbo or stalled from the national settlement into shoddy lender practices.
Properties starting the foreclosure process increased on an annual basis for the third straight month, RealtyTrac said.
“Recent foreclosure activity patterns vary significantly from state to state, often hinging on the level of dysfunction that exists in each state’s foreclosure process,” said Daren Blomquist, Vice President of RealtyTrac. “In states like Florida, Illinois and New Jersey, where processing and procedural issues slowed foreclosure activity to a crawl last year, foreclosure numbers continue to rebound off those artificially low levels.”
Here are highlights from RealyTrac’s report:
»  Overall foreclosure activity decreased on a year-over-year basis for the 22nd consecutive month in July, dropping to its lowest level since April.
»  The decline in overall foreclosure activity – including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – was driven primarily by a 21 percent year-over-year decrease in bank repossessions, or REOs.
»  Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia posted annual decreases in REO activity, but there were some notable exceptions where REO activity increased annually, including Florida (38 percent), Ohio (25 percent), Illinois (22 percent), and New Jersey (21 percent) — all judicial foreclosure states where foreclosures are processed through the court system.
»  U.S. foreclosure starts in July increased 6 percent on a year-over-year basis, the third straight month with an annual increase in foreclosure starts following 27 consecutive months of decreasing foreclosure starts on an annual basis.
»  Foreclosure starts increased on a year-over-year basis in 27 states, led by Connecticut (201 percent), New Jersey (164 percent), Pennsylvania (139 percent), Indiana (83 percent), and Massachusetts (65 percent) — all judicial foreclosure states.

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