U.S. foreclosure activity has fallen to its lowest level in more
than five years, according to figures released today by RealtyTrac,
as the nation's backlog of distressed properties continues to
Foreclosure filings were reported on 180,427 residential
properties in September, a 7 percent drop from August and a 16
percent annual decline from September 2011. It's the fewest
foreclosure actions reported for any one month since July 2007.
Quarterly figures were also at a near-five year low, with
531,576 foreclosure filings reported during the third quarter of
the year, the lowest rate since the fourth quarter of 2007 and the
ninth consecutive quarter that foreclosure activity has fallen.
Slower pace than expected
"We've been waiting for the other foreclosure shoe to drop since
late 2010, when questionable foreclosure practices slowed activity
to a crawl in many areas, but that other shoe is instead being
carefully lowered to the floor and therefore making little noise in
the housing market - at least at a national level," said Daren
Blomquist, vice president of Realty Trac.
However, Blomquist cautioned that foreclosure activity is still
quite strong in many states, and that there could be a "roller
coaster" effect as lenders adapt to new foreclosure rules resulting
from legislation or court rulings that have temporarily impeded
foreclosures in some parts of the country.
September's drop was driven by large declines in foreclosure
activity in non-judicial foreclosure states such as California,
Texas, Arizona and Michigan. Meanwhile, foreclosure activity
increased in many judicial foreclosure states - where foreclosures
must be conducted through the courts - such as Florida, Ohio, New
Jersey and New York.
Judicial foreclosure states have generally been working through
their backlog of distressed properties more slowly given the more
deliberate process required in those jurisdictions.
New York foreclosures taking nearly 3 years to complete
On average, it took 382 days to complete the foreclosure process
for home repossessed in the third quarter, slower than the 336-day
average reported for properties repossessed in the third quarter of
2011. The foreclosure process is taking the longest in New York
State, where properties remained in foreclosure for an average of
1,032 days before the process was completed, followed by New Jersey
and Florida at 931 days and 858 days, respectively.
By comparison, foreclosures in Texas took an average of only 93
days to complete.
The RealtyTrac report comes two days after a separate measure
found that the nation's "shadow inventory" of distressed and
at-risk properties continues to fall. CoreLogic reported on Tuesday
that the number of seriously delinquent and foreclosed homes not
listed for sale dropped to 2.3 million in July, down 10.2 percent
from the July 2011 level. That figure represents a six-month
supply, according to CoreLogic.
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