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Robo-signing scandal slows mortgage loan foreclosures

For the third time in three months foreclosure filings fell below the 300,000 mark. While this may sound like good news, it’s actually a by-product of the ongoing robo-signing scandal.

“We’ve now seen three straight months with fewer than 300,000 properties receiving foreclosure filings, following 20 straight months where the total exceeded 300,000,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Unfortunately this is less a sign of a robust housing recovery and more a sign that lenders have become bogged down in reviewing procedures, resubmitting paperwork and formulating legal arguments related to accusations of improper foreclosure processing.”

Florida

One of the more unusual findings from RealtyTrac was that “no Florida cities showed up in the top 20 metro foreclosure rates in January. In contrast the state accounted for nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates in 2010.”

Foreclosure filings in Florida have been severely impacted by lender shortcuts. The very real recordation problems faced by Floridians could spread to other states, slowing down foreclosure actions but raising significant title questions.

According to the Office of Florida’s Attorney General, “We are finding as part of our investigation into foreclosure mills and ancillary businesses that

  • “Executed affidavits of indebtedness have been filed in support of summary judgment.
  • “Records of assignments of mortgages are hopelessly lost resulting in corrective assignments that are sometimes filed even after the foreclosure sale has occurred.
  • “Initially some title companies were reluctant to issue title insurance on foreclosed properties and may be reluctant to do so again because of the following recent decision.”

Here’s more from RealtyTrac:

Foreclosure Activity by Type

A total of 75,198 U.S. properties received default notices (NOD, LIS) in January, a 1 percent decrease from the previous month and a 27 percent decrease from January 2010 — the 12th straight month where default notices decreased on a year-over-year basis. January was also the fourth straight month where default notices decreased on a month-over-month basis, giving it the lowest monthly total for default notices since July 2007.

Default notices in states with a non-judicial foreclosure process (NOD) increased less than 1 percent from the previous month but were down 8 percent from January 2010, while default notices in states with a judicial foreclosure process (LIS) decreased 2 percent from December and were down 39 percent from January 2010.

Foreclosure auctions (NTS, NFS) were scheduled for the first time on a total of 108,002 U.S. properties in January, a 4 percent decrease from the previous month and a 13 percent decrease from January 2010. It was the lowest monthly total for scheduled foreclosure auctions since February 2009.

Scheduled non-judicial foreclosure auctions (NFS) decreased 1 percent from December and were down 3 percent from January 2010, while scheduled judicial foreclosure auctions (NTS) decreased 14 percent from the previous month and were down 39 percent from January 2010.

Lenders foreclosed on 78,133 U.S. properties in January, up 12 percent from the previous month but still down 11 percent from January 2010. Bank repossessions (REO) in non-judicial foreclosure states increased 23 percent from December but were still down 9 percent from January 2010, while bank repossessions in judicial foreclosure states decreased 7 percent from the previous month and were down 16 percent from January 2010.

Nevada, Arizona, California post top state foreclosure rates

Nevada bank repossessions increased 16 percent from the previous month, helping the state maintain the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 49th straight month — despite month-over-month decreases in default notices and scheduled auctions. One in every 93 Nevada housing units received a foreclosure filing in January — more than five times the national average.


One in every 175 Arizona housing units received a foreclosure filing in January, the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate. Arizona foreclosure activity increased 16 percent from the previous month — driven by a 54 percent month-over-month increase in REOs — but was still down 25 percent from January 2010.

California REO activity increased 32 percent from the previous month, and the state posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 200 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.

Idaho posted the nation’s fourth highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 241 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, while Utah posted the nation’s fifth highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 265 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the month.

Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 in January were Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Florida and Colorado.

Five states account for more than 50 percent of national total

With 67,072 properties receiving a foreclosure filing, California accounted for more than 25 percent of the national total in January. After hitting a 25-month low in November, California foreclosure activity has increased on a month-over-month basis for two straight months.

Florida foreclosure activity decreased on a month-over-month basis for the fourth straight month, but the state’s 21,671 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in January — a 42-month low — was still the second highest in the nation.

Michigan foreclosure activity increased for the second straight month, and the state posted the nation’s third highest total, with 16,716 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in January.

Arizona posted the nation’s fourth highest total, with 15,757 properties receiving a foreclosure filing, whileTexas posted the nation’s fifth highest total, with 14,897 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the month.

Other states with foreclosure activity totals among the nation’s 10 highest in January were Illinois (13,164), Georgia (12,772), Nevada (12,263), Ohio (8,924) and New Jersey (5,526).

Top 10 metro rates in Nevada, California, Arizona, while Florida metros drop

With one in every 82 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in January, the Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., metro area maintained the nation’s highest foreclosure rate among metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more. Las Vegas foreclosure activity decreased nearly 13 percent from the previous month and increased less than 1 percent from January 2010.

The other Nevada metro area in the top 10 was Reno-Sparks, at No. 5 with one in every 132 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.

Seven California metro areas posted foreclosure rates in the top 10, led by Modesto, at No. 2 with one in every 111 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing; Stockton, at No. 3 with one in every 114 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing; and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, at No. 4 with one in every 120 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing. Other California metro areas with foreclosure rates in the top 10 were Vallejo-Fairfield at No. 6 (one in 135 housing units); Bakersfield at No. 7 (one in 143); Merced at No. 9 (one in 149); and Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville at No. 10 (one in 151). Sacramento was the only California metro area in the top 10 to report increasing foreclosure activity on a month-over-month and year-over year basis.

With one in every 143 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in January, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area posted the nation’s eighth highest metro foreclosure rate.

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Posted in: Foreclosures

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