Despite the fact that we keep hearing about a resurgence, a
revival, in the housing market, more homes are entering into the
It was revealed on Friday that homes receiving first-time
foreclosure notices rose 7% in March from February, according to
foreclosure listing company RealtyTrac.
If that number sounds bad, at least it is consistent. That is
the third month in a row that the number has gone up, and it
reflects the fact that bankers are stepping up action against
homeowners failing to make their payments.
Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, told AP that,
"We're not out of the woods yet with foreclosures. There are more
batches of foreclosures coming through the pipeline."
The numbers are something of a setback, as it looked as if the
realty market was on a bit of a rise. Foreclosure activity slowed
down in the fall of 2010, although there were claims from some
quarters that banks and mortgage servicers were processing
foreclosures without verifying documents.
However, there will no such slips through the net now. Since
February, when a $25 billion settlement was reached between the
country's biggest mortgage lenders and state officials, the banks
have tightened up on unpaid mortgages.
While foreclosed homes sell at a discount to other homes, they
can also drag down the value of neighboring homes. Therefore,
while the action of the banks is understandable, it could
ultimately prove to be self-defeating, as the market will take
longer to bounce back.
The housing market across the nation is still weak, despite
the aforementioned cries of a revival, even after the best winter
for home sales in five years, and some signs of improvement in
the job market.
It is also worth mentioning that the vast majority of homes
going into foreclosure are properties that have gone unpaid for a
long time. We are not talking about a couple of months of unpaid
bills between jobs.
"The faster we can move some of these old foreclosures through
the pipeline, the faster the market can be in a place to
recover," Blomquist said.
First-time foreclosure notices, including those warnings of
initial default, are just the first step in a fairly long process
ultimately leading to foreclosure. The homeowner can pay the
overdue payment and exit the process.
Still, no mater how you look at it, March was a bad month for
the housing numbers.
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