Looks like someone may have had a little advance notice on October's foreclosure semi-moratorium festivities. According to RealtyTrac, September foreclosures marked a 5 month high of 347,420, jumping 3% from the previous month and 1% from September 2009, even as the 3rd quarters marked the highest foreclosure activity on record. For the first time in history, bank repossessions (REOs) surpassed 100K, hitting 102,134. Providing some much needed color on what is actually happening in the foreclosure market, James Saccio, CEO of RealtyTrac said: "Lenders foreclosed on a record number of properties in September and in the third quarter, taking a bite out of the backlog of distressed properties where the foreclosure process was delayed by foreclosure prevention efforts over the past 20 months. We expect to see a dip in those bank repossessions — and possibly earlier stages of the foreclosure process — in the fourth quarter as several major lenders have halted foreclosure sales in some states while they review irregularities in foreclosure-processing documentation that has been called into question in recent weeks." And plunge, foreclosure activity will: the 24 judicial foreclosure states most affected by the foreclosure documentation issue accounted for 40 percent of all foreclosure activity in the third quarter and 36 percent of bank repossessions, or REOs. And the worst part is precisely what Jim Cramer thought was going to represent a boost to home prices, confirming just how little the man understand basic market principles: "If the lenders can resolve the documentation issue quickly, then we would expect the temporary lull in foreclosure activity to be followed by a parallel spike in activity as many of the delayed foreclosures move forward in the foreclosure process. However, if the documentation issue cannot be quickly resolved and expands to more lenders we could see a chilling effect on the overall housing market as sales of pre-foreclosure and foreclosed properties, which account for nearly one-third of all sales, dry up and the shadow inventory of distressed properties grows — causing more uncertainty about home prices.” In other words: a complete housing market collapse.
The chart below summarizes the monthly foreclosure activity by type (NOD + LIS, NTS+NFS, and REOs):
Some more details from RealtyTrac:
Foreclosure Activity by Type
During the quarter a total of 269,647 properties received default notices (Notices of Default or Lis Pendens), a decrease of 1 percent from the previous quarter and a decrease of 21 percent from the third quarter of 2009, when default notices peaked at more than 342,000.
Foreclosure auctions were scheduled for the first time on a total of 372,445 properties during the quarter, the highest quarterly total for scheduled auctions in the history of the report. Scheduled auctions increased 5 percent from the previous quarter and were up 4 percent from the third quarter of 2009.
Bank repossessions (REOs) also hit a record high for the report in the third quarter, with a total of 288,345 properties repossessed by the lender during the quarter — an increase of 7 percent from the previous quarter and an increase of 22 percent from the third quarter of 2009.
Nevada, Arizona, Florida post top state foreclosure rates in third quarter
As it has for the past 15 quarters, Nevada continued to document the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate in the third quarter of 2010 despite a year-over-year decline in foreclosure activity. One in every 29 Nevada housing units received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, almost five times the national average. Nevada foreclosure activity increased nearly 1 percent from the previous quarter but was down nearly 20 percent from the third quarter of 2009.
Arizona posted the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate for the fifth consecutive quarter, with one in every 55 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, and Florida posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate for the fourth consecutive quarter, with one in every 56 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.
With one in every 70 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the third quarter, California documented the nation’s fourth highest foreclosure rate, followed by Idaho, with one in every 86 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the quarter. A total of 7,424 Idaho housing units received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, an increase of nearly 20 percent from the previous quarter and an increase of nearly 14 percent from the third quarter of 2009.
Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 in the third quarter were Utah, Georgia, Michigan, Illinois and Hawaii.
Five states account for more than 50 percent of nation’s third quarter total
California alone accounted for 21 percent of the nation’s total foreclosure activity in the third quarter, with 191,016 properties receiving a foreclosure notice — the nation’s largest foreclosure activity total. California foreclosure activity decreased nearly 1 percent from the previous quarter and was down nearly 24 percent from the third quarter of 2009.
Florida foreclosure activity increased 12 percent from the previous quarter and was flat from a year ago, giving the state the second largest foreclosure activity total, with 157,026 properties receiving a foreclosure filing.
With 49,103 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in the third quarter, Arizona posted the nation’s third largest state foreclosure activity total. Arizona foreclosure activity increased nearly 8 percent from the previous quarter but was down 2 percent from the third quarter of 2009.
Illinois posted the nation’s fourth largest foreclosure activity total, with 47,802 properties receiving foreclosure filings, and Michigan posted the nation’s fifth largest foreclosure activity total, with 46,100 properties receiving foreclosure filings. Foreclosure activity in both Illinois and Michigan increased on a quarterly and annual basis in the third quarter.
Other states with foreclosure activity totals among the nation’s 10 highest were Georgia (41,231), Nevada (38,429), Ohio (36,677), Texas (34,187) and Washington (17,670)
And just like an inverse cash for clunkers, look for the mid-November update on October numbers to be a 50%+ plunge in numbers, especially in the Notice of Trustee and Foreclosure Sale categories.