Thursday, February 16, 2012

Foreclosures Pick Up Pace, Banks Work Through Glut

Foreclosures increased again in January as banks continued to work through a large backlogs of defaulting loans in their books, RealtyTrac reports. The number of foreclosure filings — including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions — increased 3 percent from December to January.

However, the numbers were significantly down compared to one year earlier, RealtyTrac reports.

Last month, one in every 624 households received a foreclosure filing — a drop of 19 percent compared to January 2011.

Banks had slowed their pace of processing foreclosures last year following a robo-signing scandal, in which banks were accused of approving foreclosure documents without proper reviews. Banks have changed some of their methods in processing foreclosures. Also, the $25 billion foreclosure settlement, announced last week, among the nation’s five largest banks and state attorneys general is expected to lead to a pick up in the pace of foreclosures.

The “frozen up foreclosure process is beginning to thaw,” Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac, said in a statement. For example, Florida had a 14 percent increase in foreclosure filings in January compared to a year earlier.

Many housing experts view an increase in foreclosures as an important step for the housing market to recover in clearing the glut of foreclosed homes on the market. Foreclosures have hampered home prices in many markets.

Source: “Foreclosures Climbed in January,” CNNMoney (Feb. 16, 2012) and RealtyTrac

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