Foreclosure Filings DownPosted by Jason Brock Lewis on Saturday, January 21st, 2012 at 7:40am.
Foreclosure filings and repossessions fell to their lowest level since 2007 last year.
Totalfilings, including default notices and bank repossessions were down 33% for the
year to 2.7 million, according to RealtyTrac, the online marketer of foreclosed
Onein every 69 homes had at least one foreclosure filing during the year, while 804,000
homes were repossessed. That's a significant improvement from the peaks reached
in 2010 -- when 1.05 million homes were repossessed -- and the lowest levels
seen since 2007.
More than 4 million homes have been lost to foreclosure over the past five years.
While the declines seem like good news for the housing market, where a flood of
foreclosed homes has depressed home prices, much of it is due to processing
delays caused by fall-out from the "robo-signing" scandal that broke
in late 2010.
During the year, banks spent more time making sure paperwork was legal and proper,
creating a backlog in the foreclosure pipeline. As a result, the average time
it took to process a foreclosure climbed to 348 days during the fourth quarter,
up from 305 days a year earlier.
"Foreclosures were in full delay mode in 2011, resulting in a dramatic drop in foreclosure
activity for the year," said Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of
However, Moore said there were "strong signs" during the second half of the
year that lenders are working through foreclosure backlogs in certain markets.
He expects foreclosure activity to rise above 2011's level but remain below the
peak hit in 2010.
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