January Foreclosure Activity Continues To Be Depressed Due To Robofraud, Judicial State REOs Plunge

Tyler Durden's picture

RealtyTrac's January foreclosure update shows that banks are once again starting to flex their muscles. Total foreclosure events (defined by the firm as default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions or REOs) came at 261,333, a decline of 17% from a year earlier, but a 1% increase from December (one in every 497 houses received a foreclosure notice). “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. 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.” What is interesting is the growing distinction between judicial and non-judicial state REO activity. Readers will recall that Bank of America (partially) stopped foreclosure activity in non-judicial states in January. "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." In other words, look for non-judicial activity to drop off even more.

Full monthly breakdown of foreclosure activity by type:

More from Realty Trac:

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.

Not surprisingly, the pain continues to be concentrated, as just five states account for more than 50 percent of the 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).

Source: RealtyTrac

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jus_lite_reading's picture

DING DING DING! Wait until they start up again! TSUNAMI!

Cash_is_Trash's picture

When does the U.S. Capitol receive a foreclosure notice?

Boxed Merlot's picture

Didn't you catch it? When our business / congress man at yesterday's hearing asked if congress decided to rate the order of paying back obligations including the interest on the treasury bills being assigned to the federal reserve bank, he was told something to the fact that the interest payment had to be first tier or else.


Made me laugh.  What's the chairman going to do?  Take his fiat currency and go home?  Please do!


Congress needs to start taking their power and authority seriously.  Tell our mints to immediatly begin striking and circulating intrinsically valuable coinage and tell the executive to instruct the treasurty to issue US notes fully redeemable in said coinage. 


No need to break any laws.  No need to threaten.  No need to get angry or even audit.  Just do it already!


Let the Fed die on the vine.  If someone wants to conduct a post mortem afterwards, fine.  Get the tumor out and off the body already.

apberusdisvet's picture

By the time we reach QE LV, the balance sheets of the TBTFs should be close to being fixed.  Of course we'll all be learning Mandarin by then.

TruthInSunshine's picture

David Stern has crashed. As have his investors.

If you read this, you will undoubtedly be amazed at how they were processing foreclosures, much of the time illegally.

  • The Rise and Fall of a Foreclosure King
  • papaswamp's picture

    Unemployment....NSA declined to 438,000...unfortunately total on UE increased to 9.4 Million from 9.29 mil. Short term possibly improving, but overall picture still ugly. Basically stagnant.

    Life of Illusion's picture



    February 09, 2011

    The areas most in need of a life preserver are Nevada, Arizona, California and Florida. Las Vegas takes the lead with more than 81% of all properties showing negative equity. Phoenix follows Sin City with nearly 70%; Reno, Nev., with almost 68% of homeowners underwater; Orlando, Fla., has 61.7%; and 58% of homeowners in Modesto, Calif., are drowning in negative equity.


    Snidley Whipsnae's picture

    Anyone have a link to 'judicial and non judicial states'?


    cossack55's picture

    January foreclosures continue to be depressed...

    Thats funny. I continue to be depressioned.  Are they the same?

    TruthInSunshine's picture

    The federal government & federal reserve aren't assisting lenders and note holders (or alleged note holders) in suppressing foreclosure activity just like the Federal Reserve isn't almost single-handedly responsible for the rise in equity markets:



    All that can't end well, won't end well. All that will end catastrophically, will.

    MachoMan's picture

    The states are due their property taxes.  If the federal government and the TBTF financial institutions think that states will have some sort of problem with breaking property taxes off in their asses, they've got another thing coming.  If you want to sit on your shadow inventory, that's fine, but you do so at your own peril for states will certify the properties to their land commissioners who will first auction the properties and, if unsuccessful, negotiate a sale (auctions = assessed market value, negotiated sale = getting the property for paying the taxes owed).  There are already a few cases in the pipe regarding banks sitting on notice of tax sale and getting divested of their lien on the property through purchase by a BFP at tax sale... 

    The reason this issue hasn't sprung up more is that, here at least and I suspect elsewhere, the process between your county/local government certifying the property to the state and then the state scheduling auction, etc., takes approximately 4-5 years.  As a result, we're still at pre-bubble vintage tax delinquent properties.  Over the next year, the floodgates should be opening...  If banks are interested in keeping their liens, then they'd better start coughing up some tax money.

    Once the properties are back in the banks' hands, they'd better get rid of them because they will face punitive increases in sales taxes.  (The yokels will have no problem paying their local infrastructure through the taxation of federally subsidized multinational corporations anchored in far off lands).

    Fearless Rick's picture

    Come on Tyler, you can do better than this:

    "In other words, look for non-judicial activity to drop off even more."

    There's actually no empirical evidence to support that statement. In fact, the opposite is probably true. The banks have gotten their asses handed to them in judicial states like NY, NJ, CT and Ohio and the courts are stalemated. Here in NY, foreclosures have all but ceased due to increased scrutiny of bank docs and new rules which put the plaintiff's attorneys on the hook for verifying the veracity of all bank docs.

    Most attorneys worth their salt are upping the ante on the banks, as in, sure, you want me to foreclose on this $250,000 property that has MERS all over it and probably some robo-signed assignment in the county clerk's office? That'll be $10K up front, and please sign this no-recourse, hold-harmless document our practice department has whipped up.

    Lawyers in NY have to either a) trust that the bank is telling the truth and not forging docs (fat chance) or b) be willing to risk their reputations and possibly their licenses for the right to toss somebody from their home.

    Generally speaking, there are much better areas of practice (one being defending homeowners) without the risk associated with foreclosures.

    The banks aren't willing to pony up the big money, either. In my case, March 2010, BofA served me as administrator of my deceased father's estate. I had to laugh when I read in the complaint that they had paid the attorneys the obscene sum of $400. That explains why the case was filed but never moved off square one since. The law firm no doubt has asked for more dough - probably in the range of $5K - and the bank looked at their loss mitigation team and said, "chuck it," since the bank knows that the home they appraised for $120K and re-fied for 83K is worth less than $80K in today's market and probably $15k less than that in the real world.

    After $5K in attorney fees and maybe more, another $6-8K in back taxes (maybe more; I purposely haven't paid the taxes because I know the moment I do, the bank may be at the courthouse door), a cool  $30K in various repairs (also maybe more - roof, kitchen bathroom, septic) and $4K in real estate sales commission, what do they have? $47K in expenses on a house worth maybe $90 after all repairs? $43K, which is roughly what I plan to offer them should they ever make it to the mandatory borrower-lender conference.

    So, do I deserve a free home? Maybe. Consider the time I've spent going hrough their fault-ridden mortgage docs and the bogus assignment on the books at the county, BofA should be happy that I don't invoke my right of recission and get back all of the mortgage payments my father made (about $16K) in addition to the house.

    There's actually quite a bit of cost involved, for those believing I'm a deadbeat. Those repairs have to be done at some point - though I can save a bundle by doing them myself to a large extent - and the taxes must be paid, so it's not exactly free, but close.

    Bank foreclosures will increase in non-judicial states and decrease in judicial ones because, as usual, the banks will take the easiest route to easy money.

    And did I mention that this is a Cuntrywide loan and BofA not only probably doesn't have the note and isn't the rightful owner and has no standing to foreclose? Game-set-match.


    Here's a link to a list of the 23 judicial foreclosure states:


    The poster asking for assistance should be able to figure out which states are non-judicial (remember, Since Obama took office there are 57 states.)

    tallystick's picture

    First of all, it's time to dispel the notion that somebody who gets to keep their house as a result of a legal challenge to a foreclosure sale is getting a free house.


    That person is a freelance fraud prosecuter, and should be commended for doing the job of the paid prosecuters.  Like Yves said, or maybe it was Janet T, it's not illegal to fall behind on your payments, it is illegal to commit fraud, etc.

    MachoMan's picture

    I agree that, in and of itself, the "drop off" in foreclosures in non-judicial states comment may be presumptuous.  However, it is spot on and here's why.  The big time cases that have made headlines were primarily cases that involved judicial states.  Stop a second and consider this.  Even when judicial oversight was required, the banks still fucked everything to high hell.

    Now, just take a guess, as to what kind of fatal procedural errors are made when the bank is under the impression there will be no judicial oversight.

    The reason the floodgates have yet to open is that people simply don't know that the procedural issues commonly involved in these cases are FATAL to the foreclosure decree and, therefore, void all associated proceedings.  As knowledge of this fact picks up steam, you're going to get more than a few cases...

    Of course, be prepared to pay both your side and the other side's attorney's fees in the event of a loss...  (but, practically speaking, it should only be used as a tool for settlement...  as who wants an underwater house back?)


    Fearless Rick's picture

    All right, let's wrap our minds around this. The original quote, per TD, was:

    "In other words, look for non-judicial activity to drop off even more."

    Now, Macho Man makes his case for massive clusterfucking in the non-judicial states and says that TD's line is "spot on."

    Then, he goes on to say, "...the procedural issues commonly involved in these [non-judicial foreclosures] cases are FATAL to the foreclosure decree and, therefore, void all associated proceedings.  As knowledge of this fact picks up steam, you're going to get more than a few cases..."

    In other words, Macho is saying there will be more non-judicial activity, not less, as TD claimed.

    Logic, fellas. Works every time. And thanks for making my point, Macho Man.

    For more evidence that action in judicial states is slowing, while it's picking up steam in non-judicial, check out the WaPo article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/10/AR201102...

    in which the author makes specific mention of the mucking up - drop-offs in judicial states of 70% in FC activity.

    I'm aware that TD is human and may have made a mistake, meaning "judicial" states, rather than non-judicial. In any case, my logic is impeccable, so don't fuck with me today. I'm in a good mood. You really don't want to see me get angry.

    And, yes, the house I am working on will not be "free" at all. A lot of time, effort and considerable risk hs gone into it, to say nothing of the ongoing expenses of upgrading a 90-year-old 1700-sf structure that's been neglected pretty much since I moved out 40 years ago.

    Strange to be coming back to a 2-day old post, but sloppiness in journalism is intolerable, especially by those held in such high esteem.

    MachoMan's picture

    How can you extrapolate that there would be more non-judicial foreclosures from my statements?  A homeowner who has been booted from his property does not bring a foreclosure action...  as a result REO actions are not going to increase because ousted homeowners challenge the issue in court...  even if we presume that the action of a homeowner in attempting to set aside a foreclosure is an REO activity, this would only make REO activity neutral...  in that it would arise out of the same transaction and, thus, already be counted in the total...

    The only reason it may pick up steam in non-judicial states is because the foreclosing parties are literally too stupid to extrapolate that their same procedural errors in judicial states also invalidate their foreclosures in non-judicial states...  and, there are probably more procedural steps in a non-judicial foreclosure (more notice/posting steps, etc.), given the lack of court oversight.  Given non-judicial foreclosures are in derogation of common law, they are held to the strictest scrutiny...  a single hiccup, regardless of how harmless, is likely enough to invalidate a foreclosure.  Plus, you don't have a decree of foreclosure to attempt to set aside...  no fraud to allege...

    PS, to the extent I claimed a foreclosure decree was to be had in a non-judicial foreclosure, this was clearly error on my part.

    topcallingtroll's picture

    While i hate to see grifters stay in their houses without paying for them a slowdown in recognized losses and in housing supply wouldnt be a bad thing right now.

    tallystick's picture

    Tangentially related question: so if you have original promissory notes endorsed in blank and undated, thus bearer paper by UCC, and then report those notes lost, stolen, etc, and foreclose using the lost note affidavits, while actually still having the bearer paper; did you not just counterfeit the asset, since you still have the bearer paper, and now the collateral as well? As long as nobody realizes the two assets are in fact the same asset, can they not be both held on the banks books at mark to fantasy?

    buzzard beak's picture

    If you're interested in macroeconomic signals, the statistic to watch is the number of new default notices, or lis pendens. They lag default by only a few months.

    Bank repossessions lag default by at least a year. In NYC the system is so slow, even now many of the repos getting done actually defaulted before the bubble popped. You're not exactly going to have your finger on the pulse of the economy by tracking those.