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

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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