Entries in Foreclosures (48)


Home Repossessions Drop to Six-Year Low

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(IRVINE, Calif.) -- The number of U.S. homes seized by lenders last month fell to a 65-month low last month, according to a new report released Thursday by RealtyTrac.

The foreclosure listing firm says bank repossessions in February dropped 11 percent from January and were down 29 percent from the year before.  That marks the lowest level since September 2007.

The report also shows that 154,281 properties received a foreclosure notice last month, up 2 percent from January but down 25 percent from February 2012.

“At a high level the U.S. foreclosure inferno has been effectively contained and should be reduced to a slow burn in the next two years,” RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in a statement.  “But dangerous foreclosure flare-ups are still popping up in states where foreclosures have been delayed by a lengthy court process or by new legislation making it more difficult to foreclose outside of the court system.  Foreclosure starts have been steadily building in those states over the last several months and likely will end up as bank repossessions or short sales later this year."

Indeed, as the report points out, foreclosure starts increased in 32 states in February and were up from a year ago in 16 states.

“These new foreclosure hot spots include states like Washington, where seven straight months of rising foreclosure activity pushed the state’s foreclosure rate to fifth highest nationwide -- the highest it’s ever been in our report -- and Maryland, where eight straight months of rising foreclosure activity placed the state’s foreclosure rate among the top 10 nationwide for the first time since July 2010,” Blomquist said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Foreclosure Filings Fall to Lowest Rate Since 2007

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After six years, the national foreclosure crisis may soon be nearing an end.

According to listings firm RealtyTrac, the number of foreclosure filings reported in January 2013 dropped 7 percent from the previous month and 28 percent from January 2012. According to the report, one in every 869 housing units in the United States had a foreclosure filing in January.

Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, cites legislation that went into effect on January 1 in California as having a profound impact on U.S. foreclosure numbers. The legislation, dubbed the Homeowners Bill of Rights, aided the state in decreasing foreclosures by 75 percent from January 2012.

For the fifth consecutive month, Florida had the highest foreclosure rate of any state. According to RealtyTrac, one in every 300 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing in January -- more than twice the national average.  Florida also had the highest total number of housing units with foreclosure filings of any state in January, marking the first time since January 2007 that California does not hold that distinction.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Buying a Foreclosed Home in NY, Fla. Can Save You 30% or More

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you're in the market for a new home this year, you may want to check out Florida and New York, suggests a new report from RealtyTrac.

"There's a lot of cities in Florida and New York where there's a lot of foreclosure inventory waiting in the wings to be sold off," RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist tells ABC News Radio.

Snatching up a foreclosed home can save you about 30 percent or more on the price, Blomquist says.

"Jacksonville, [Fla.], a 32 percent discount.  Chicago had one of the higher discounts at 46 percent," he points out.

The catch is that these homes may not be in the best condition.

As Blomquist explains, "There's a reason you get that 30 percent discount.  It's not just, it's not too good to be true.  It's because typically these properties are in not as good a condition.  The homeowner has not been able to keep up the home."

He suggests buying a foreclosed home would be good for someone looking to renovate and sell the property for a profit, or someone "looking to buy a home with some built in equity to start with."

As for the places where you won't score such a great deal, RealtyTrac says Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Portland, Ore., and Las Vegas are among the worst places to buy a foreclosed home in 2013.

"Las Vegas we're ranking as one of the worst places to buy foreclosures in 2013 because the numbers of foreclosures have just fallen off the cliff there," Blomquist says.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Foreclosure Activity Dropped by 3% in 2012, But Rose in 25 States

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A total of 1,836,634 U.S. properties received a foreclosure filing last year, according to the latest report from RealtyTrac, marking a 3 percent drop from 2011.

The latest figure is also down 36 percent from 2010, when foreclosure filings peaked.

But while the picture looked positive nationwide, the foreclosure tracking firm found that that wasn't the case for some states.

"We saw 25 states nationwide, actually, had increase in foreclosure activity from 2011 to 2012, counter to the national trend -- and some of those increases were pretty significant," said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist.

Foreclosure activity rose 55 percent in New Jersey last year; 53 percent in Florida; 48 percent in Connecticut; 46 percent in Indiana; 33 percent in Illinois; and 31 percent in New York.

"Those states tend to be the states with the longer foreclosure process," explained Blomquist.

Another negative finding from RealtyTrac's report: 26 percent of all homes with a mortgage are seriously under water.

"There are still 10.9 million homeowners nationwide who owe more on their property than what it's worth -- and that's just gonna take time as home prices gradually increase, for those homeowners to get out from that negative equity position," Blomquist said.

But there has been some improvement, as Blomquist pointed out.

"That number of negative equity homeowners is down 1.6 million from a year ago -- so, a year ago, it was at 12.5 million -- and so, we're making progress on that front, too, but it's not gonna be overnight that we get out of the problems created by the housing bubble," he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Banks Reach $8.5B Settlement with Regulators on Foreclosure Abuses

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Ten banks have reached an $8.5 billion foreclosure abuse settlement with regulators.  This is not the first or the biggest of such settlements, but another in a series of settlements and lawsuits coming out of the now several-years-old housing bubble.

The deal provides billions in direct payments to 3.8 million homeowners who were forced into foreclosure in 2009 and 2010.  The Fed says they were subjected to “unsafe and unsound” practices by banks.  

In addition to the direct payment, banks will pay $5 billion for loan modifications and other assistance to millions more struggling to stay in their home.

This settlement comes out of the so-called “robo-signing” scandal, where banks were found to be fast tracking foreclosures without adequate paperwork.

Borrowers eligible for payment do not need to take any action; they will be contacted by a “payment agent” set up as part of this settlement.  If a borrower thinks they should be eligible, they should contact their bank.

This agreement includes Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.  Regulators are still negotiating with some servicers, so the size of the settlement could grow.

State Attorneys generals came to a somewhat similar $25 billion settlement with banks last year.  

Monday's announcement is separate from Bank of America’s more than $10 billion settlement with Fannie Mae announced earlier in the day.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Foreclosure Filings Drop 3% in November; Bank Seizures Jump 11%

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Foreclosure activity dropped 3 percent in November from October, marking the 26th month in a row with an annual decrease, according to the latest report from RealtyTrac.

The foreclosure tracking firm says 180,817 U.S. properties received a foreclosure notice last month, down 19 percent from November 2011.


RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist tells ABC News Radio the drop was mainly driven by an annual decrease in foreclosure starts.

"The number of properties starting the foreclosure process hit a 71-month low in the month of November -- it's the lowest level we've seen since December of 2006," he says.

But it wasn't all good news on the housing front.  Bank seizures were up 11 percent from October and up 5 percent from the year before -- a nine-month high and the first year-over-year increase in repossessions since October 2010, RealtyTrac reports.

"Even though fewer properties are starting the foreclosure process, more of the properties that are 'in' the foreclosure process are now being taken back by the banks, which is going to continue to be a drag on the housing market in the short term as those housing properties are listed and sold on the market," Blomquist says.

He predicts, "I think we're gonna continue to see some jumps in those bank repossessions, especially in some of the states with the longest foreclosure process going into 2013."

These states include Alaska, Alabama, Maine and Maryland, which were among nine states that hit foreclosure highs in November.

The others?  "Florida, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and South Carolina are some of the notable ones that November was the highest level we've seen over the last 12 months or more," Blomquist says.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sandy-Affected States Had Biggest Foreclosure Increases

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Foreclosures increased 3 percent in October from September to 186,455 U.S. properties, according to RealtyTrac, as states with longer legal processes finally see their foreclosures close.

The foreclosure research firm reported Thursday that one in every 706 U.S. housing units had a foreclosure filing in October, which is still above levels for a healthy housing market but still 19 percent down from October 2011.


“Nationally, the trend appears to be downward, but what stood out to me are the sharp increases in foreclosure activity in many of the judicial foreclosure states where the foreclosure process is much more lengthy,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.

The three states with the biggest annual increases in foreclosure activity in October happened to be those most affected by Superstorm Sandy, which Blomquist called a coincidence.  They were New Jersey (140 percent), New York (123 percent) and Connecticut (41 percent).

The foreclosure moratoriums in effect as a result of Sandy will likely extend the already-lengthy time to foreclose in these states, further delaying a sound housing recovery, he said.

Another source of worry was an increase in foreclosure activity in metropolitan areas that had previously been on a downward trend.  Those include Las Vegas (up 45 percent) and Modesto, Calif. (up 68 percent).

“It’s a little bit early because it’s a one-month trend, but those types of big increases are a little concerning,” Blomquist said.  “We’re definitely not out of the woods yet.  There are still batches of foreclosures that those markets have to absorb.”

Florida had the country’s highest foreclosure rate for the second month in a row, as one in every 312 housing units had a foreclosure filing in October, followed by Nevada, Illinois, California and Arizona.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Top 10 Metro Areas with the Highest Foreclosure Rates

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While the number of foreclosures in the nation has fallen to half the peak rate of the crisis, people are still losing their homes to banks in certain regions at high rates.

From January 2007 -- shortly after the housing bubble burst -- through Sept. 2012, about one in 29 housing units have been foreclosed (or about 4.5 million out of 131 million housing units), according to foreclosure data firm RealtyTrac.

In Sept. 2012, there were 180,000 housing units with foreclosure filings.  During the peak of the foreclosure crisis -- March 2010 -- there were 367,000 properties with a foreclosure filing.

However, Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said a "normal" housing market will have about 75,000 properties with foreclosure filings.

"We have more than halfway back to normal," he said.

California is still mired in foreclosures, as the seven cities with the highest foreclosure rates using data from Sept. 2012 are all in the Golden State.

"It speaks to the depth of the housing crisis in those markets," Blomquist said.

The business of foreclosures has evolved since the crisis began as well.  Banks are pushing fewer distressed loans through foreclosure, instead encouraging short sales.

"It's a different way of dealing with distressed loans than in the past," he said.

As a result, there has been a 45 percent increase in short sales during the first five months of 2012, compared with the same period in 2011.

RealtyTrac has measured the average time it takes from when a bank starts a foreclosure to when a property is foreclosed.  Nationwide, that process is 380 days.  In Illinois and New York, that process takes close to 700 days.

Two metropolitan areas in Illinois are showing higher foreclosure rates, but that's mostly because there is a lag in data there.  In that state, a foreclosure's legal proceedings tend to take longer.

Here are the metropolitan areas with the 10 highest foreclosure rates:

1. Stockton, Calif.: One in every 67 homes in foreclosure
2. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.: One in every 73 homes in foreclosure
3. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.: One in every 78 homes in foreclosure
4. Modesto, Calif.: One in every 79 homes in foreclosure
5. Merced, Calif.: One in every 83 homes in foreclosure
6. Bakersfield, Calif.: One in every 87 homes in foreclosure
7. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif.: One in every 96 homes in foreclosure
8. Rockford, Ill.: One in every 98 homes in foreclosure
9. Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill.: One in every 98 homes in foreclosure
10. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla.: One in every 100 homes in foreclosure

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Most County Housing Markets Worse Off over Last Four Years, Says RealtyTrac

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While housing prices are on the rise, foreclosure and real estate research firm RealtyTrac reported that 65 percent of 919 county housing markets are worse off than they were four years ago, based mostly on factors including average sales price and foreclosure inventory.

With the 2012 Election Day just two weeks away, both Republicans and Democrats are grabbing at data to show that the economy has improved or worsened.

Housing data from S&P/Case-Shiller index and the National Association of Realtors show a rise in the average price of a home. Last week, the association showed sales fell 1.7 percent in September compared with a month earlier, but were up 11 percent over a year ago.

In the latest RealtyTrac report, the company compared data from the second quarters of 2008, the near-end of President George W. Bush's administration, and 2012 under President Obama. During the last four years, foreclosure inventory peaked in 2010 at 2.2 million, but has declined to 1.5 million.

Here are 10 counties that RealtyTrac noted are worse off and five counties that are better off compared to four years ago.

Cook County, Ill.
Average sales price: -17 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 37 percent

King County, Wash.
Average sales price: -16 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 62 percent

Salt Lake County, Utah
Average sales price: -36 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 49 percent

Pima County, Ariz.
Average sales price: -31 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 17 percent

Honolulu County, Hawaii
Average sales price: -20 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 650 percent

Du Page County, Ill.
Average sales price: -18 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 65 percent

Gwinnett County, Ga.
Average sales price: -19 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 24 percent

Montgomery County, Pa.
Average sales price: -7 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 77 percent


Snohomish County, Wash.
Average sales price: -16 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 94 percent

Lake County, Ill.
Average sales price: -22 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 78 percent

Orange County, Calif.
Average sales price: 2 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: -38 percent

New York County, N.Y.
Average sales price: 29 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: -12 percent

Middlesex County, Mass.
Average sales price: 10 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: -10 percent

Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Average sales price: 13 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: -44 percent

Fairfax County, Va.
Average sales price: 7 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 60 percent

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


California Foreclosures at Lowest Level Since 2007

Hemera/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- The foreclosure rate in one of the hardest-hit states is at a new low, a real estate data firm says.

Foreclosure activity in California hasn't been this low since the start of the recession in the beginning of 2007. The firm DataQuick says foreclosures are down 64 percent compared to 2009.

 "A foreclosure happens when a homeowner owes more on the property than the property's worth. Otherwise it could be sold and the mortgage paid off. So foreclosures go up when home values go down. Prices in most areas today are up significantly from their low point in early 2009," said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

The areas still seeing foreclosures are now mainly in lower-priced neighborhoods where homes are selling at below $200,000. The least likely areas for foreclosures are now counties in the very pricey San Francisco Bay Area.

DataQuick attributes the decrease in mortgage defaults to a strong economy and housing market as well as more short sales.

"Additionally, during the past year," Walsh said, "we've seen short sales overtake the foreclosure process as the procedure of choice to deal with homeowner distress. That may change after New Year's because the temporary 'debt forgiveness' feature in the tax code is set to expire as part of the so-called 'fiscal cliff'," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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