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Foreclosure filings fall, hit false bottom

Foreclosure filings in February dropped to the lowest level seen in three years according to RealtyTrac, the biggest year-over-year decrease since the company began issuing its report in 2005. The report also shows one in every 577 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month

RealtyTrac reported that foreclosure filings for February — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported for 225,101 U.S. properties in February, a 14 percent decrease from the previous month and a 27 percent decrease from February 2010.

The catch is that the February numbers are artificially low. They would be very much larger if the weather was better, February had more days and the system was not bogged down with claims of false and faked paperwork. The paperwork issues — the so-called robo-signing scandal — have slowed foreclosure activity in states across the country.

It is apparent that large numbers of foreclosure affidavits — sworn court documents — were signed by individuals who did not actually read the contents and thus cannot verify that the information contained in the documents is correct. Also, it appears that large numbers of documents were “signed” in the name of individual attorneys rather than the attorneys themselves.

“We expect to see the numbers bounce back,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, “but that will likely take several months. And monthly volume may never return to its peak in March 2010 of more than 367,000 properties receiving foreclosure filings.”

RealtyTrac also reports the following data for February:

A total of 63,165 U.S. properties received default notices (NOD, LIS) for the first time in February, a 16 percent decrease from the previous month and a 41 percent decrease from February 2010. Default notices hit a 48-month low in February and were 55 percent below a peak of 142,064 in April 2009.

In states with a judicial foreclosure process (LIS), default notices decreased 19 percent from January and were down 48 percent from February 2010. In states with a non-judicial foreclosure process (NOD), default notices decreased 13 percent from January and were down 31 percent from February 2010.

Foreclosure auctions (NTS, NFS) were scheduled for the first time on a total of 97,293 U.S. properties in February, a 10 percent decrease from the previous month and a 21 percent decrease from February 2010. Scheduled foreclosure auctions hit a 27-month low in February and were 38 percent below a peak of 158,105 in March 2010.

Scheduled judicial foreclosure auctions (NFS) decreased 7 percent from January and were down 49 percent from February 2010. Scheduled non-judicial foreclosure auctions (NTS) decreased 11 percent from the previous month and were down 7 percent from February 2010.

Lenders foreclosed on 64,643 U.S. properties in February, down 17 percent from January and down 18 percent from February 2010. Bank repossessions (REO) hit a 22-month low in February and were down 37 percent from their peak of 102,134 in September 2010.

Bank repossessions in states with a judicial foreclosure process decreased 24 percent from January and were down 35 percent from February 2010, while bank repossessions in states with a non-judicial foreclosure process decreased 14 percent from January and were down 8 percent from February 2010.

Nevada, Arizona, California post top state foreclosure rates

Nevada posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 50th straight month in February — one in every 119 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month — despite a 22 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous month. There were a total of 9,553 Nevada properties with a foreclosure filing in February, down 13 percent from February 2010.

Arizona posted the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate, one in every 178 housing units with a foreclosure filing, andCalifornia posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate, one in every 239 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

One in every 273 Utah housing units had a foreclosure filing in February, the nation’s fourth highest foreclosure rate, and one in every 298 Idaho housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month, the nation’s fifth highest foreclosure rate.


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

10 states account for more than 70 percent of national total

With 56,229 properties with a foreclosure filing, California accounted for 25 percent of the national total in February. The state’s foreclosure activity decreased 16 percent from January — following two straight monthly increases in foreclosure activity — and was down 18 percent from February 2010 — the 15th straight month where the state registered a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity.

Florida foreclosure activity decreased 13 percent from January and was down 65 percent from February 2010, but the state’s 18,760 properties with a foreclosure filing was still the nation’s second highest for the month. Florida foreclosure activity hit a 46-month low in February and was down 71 percent from a peak of 64,588 in April 2009.

Arizona documented the nation’s third highest state total in February, 15,485 properties with a foreclosure filing. Arizona foreclosure activity decreased 2 percent from the previous month and was down 7 percent from February 2010.

Michigan foreclosure activity decreased 16 percent from January and was down 30 percent from February 2010, but the state’s 14,003 properties with a foreclosure filing was still the nation’s fourth highest.

Georgia posted the fifth highest state total, tallying 12,807 properties with a foreclosure filing in February — up fractionally from the previous month and up 5 percent from February 2010.

Other states with foreclosure activity totals among the nation’s 10 highest in February were Texas (11,562), Illinois (9,592), Nevada (9,553), Ohio (8,598) and Wisconsin (4,478).

Florida cities absent from top 20 metro foreclosure rates for second straight month

For the second month in a row, no Florida cities posted foreclosure rates in the top 20 among U.S. metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more. That was in contrast to 2010, when the state accounted for nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates.

Some of the metro areas filling the spots vacated by Florida cities included Racine, Wis., at No. 12, Salt Lake City at No. 16, Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta at No. 17, and Detroit-Warren-Livonia at No. 18.

Nevada, California and Arizona cities continued to dominate the top 20, accounting for all top 10 metro foreclosure rates and 15 of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates in February. The Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., metro area continued to register the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate, one in every 106 housing units with a foreclosure filing in February.

The other Nevada metro area in the top 10 was Reno-Sparks, at No. 9 with one in every 184 housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.

Seven California metro areas posted foreclosure rates in the top 10, led by Modesto at No. 2, with one in every 140 housing units with a foreclosure filing, and Stockton at No. 3, with one in every 141 housing units with a foreclosure filing. Also in the top 10 were Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at No. 5 (one in 144 housing units); Vallejo-Fairfield at No. 6 (one in 147 housing units); Merced at No. 7 (one in 153 housing units); Bakersfield at No. 8 (one in 166 housing units); and Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville at No. 10 (one in 189 housing units).

The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro foreclosure rate ranked fourth highest: one in every 143 metro housing units had a foreclosure filing in February.

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2 Comments on "Foreclosure filings fall, hit false bottom"

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  1. Peter G. Miller says:

    I think the numbers are right, I just think the numbers reflect a strange reality.

    And yes, I agree that we are likely to see higher monthly foreclosure numbers.

  2. Gabe Sanders says:

    Unfortunately this may be a misleading statistic as it sure seems that there are a lot of distressed owners that will be facing some sort of foreclosure in the future.

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