U.S. Foreclosure Starts Down 28%, Lowest Since June 2006

U.S. Foreclosure Starts Down 28%, Lowest Since June 2006U.S. foreclosure starts were down 11 percent in January from the previous month, and down 28 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since June 2006.
Overall, foreclosure filings, including default notices and bank repossession, were reported on 150,864 U.S. properties in January, a decrease of 7 percent from the previous month and down 28 percent from January 2012, according to RealtyTrac’s latest report.
California’s new Homeowner Bill of Rights, which took effect Jan. 1, contributed to the decline. That state now has the strongest consumer protections against improper foreclosure procedures or unverified documentation.
For the first time since January 2007, California did not have the most properties with foreclosure filings of any state. Instead that distinction went to Florida, where January foreclosure activity increased on an annual basis for the 11th time in the last 13 months.
“The U.S. foreclosure landscape in January was profoundly altered by the effects of new legislation that took effect in California on the first of the year,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Dubbed the Homeowners Bill of Rights, this legislation extends many of the principles in the national mortgage settlement — including a prohibition on so-called dual tracking and requiring a single point of contact for borrowers facing foreclosure — to all mortgage servicers operating in California.”
The new law imposes fines of up to $7,500 per loan for filing of multiple unverified foreclosure documents. As a result, the downward foreclosure trend in California accelerated in January.
U.S. bank repossessions (REO) decreased 5 percent from the previous month and were down 24 percent from January 2012 to the lowest level since February 2008.
The national decrease in foreclosure starts was caused mostly by a sharp drop in California notices of default in January, down 62 percent from December and down 75 percent from January 2012 to the lowest level since October 2005.
U.S. Foreclosure Starts Down 28%, Lowest Since June 2006

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