Bank Repossessions Hit Record High in August


Bank Repossessions Hit Record High in August: RealtyTrac
By: Carrie Bay

The number of homes taken back by lenders hit a new record high last month, according to RealtyTrac. Lenders foreclosed on 95,364 U.S. properties in August, about 2 percent higher than the previous peak of 93,777 recorded by the company in May 2010.

August REO activity increased 3 percent from the previous month and was up 25 percent compared to August 2009. It’s the ninth straight month in which REOs have increased on a year-over-year basis.

Based on RealtyTrac’s market analysis, overall foreclosure activity – including default notices, scheduled auctions, and REO bank repossessions – jumped 4 percent in August compared to the month prior, but was down 5 percent from a year earlier.

A total of 338,836 properties received at least one foreclosure filing last month. RealtyTrac says the figure represents one in every 381 U.S. housing units.

New notices of default were recorded on 96,469 homes during August. That’s a 1 percent decrease from the previous month and a 30 percent drop compared to a year ago. It’s the seventh straight month where default notices have declined on a year-over-year basis.

RealtyTrac notes, though, that default notices increased on a monthly basis in some states, counter to the national trend. Default notices in California increased the third month in a row, and New York, Indiana, Ohio, and Florida also registered month-over-month increases in default notices.

Foreclosure auctions were scheduled for the first time on a total of 147,003 U.S. properties in August, a 9 percent increase from the previous month and a 2 percent increase from August 2009. The August total for scheduled auctions was the second highest monthly total in the history of RealtyTrac’s report, dating back to April 2005.

“The trend lines of decreasing default notices and increasing bank repossessions converged in August, with virtually the same number of new default notices and bank repossessions for the month – a clear indication that the clogged foreclosure pipeline is being carefully managed on both ends by lenders and servicers,” said James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac’s CEO.

Saccacio added, “On the front end, seriously delinquent loans are rolling into foreclosure at an unusually slow rate, while on the back end the dammed-up inventory of properties already in foreclosure is moving to REO in steady stream rather than a flood – presumably to prevent further erosion of home prices.”

Nevada claimed the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 44th straight month in RealtyTrac’s study. One in every 84 homes in the state received a foreclosure filing in August – 4.5 times the national average – even though foreclosure activity in Nevada is down 25 percent compared to a year ago.

Florida’s foreclosure activity decreased on a year-over-year basis for the fifth straight month in August, but the Sunshine State still ranked second highest among all states, with one in every 155 homes in foreclosure last month.

One in every 165 Arizona housing units received a filing in August, giving it the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate.

California came in at No. 4, with one in every 194 of its homes in foreclosure.

Idaho was fifth with a foreclosure rate of one in every 220 homes. Idaho was the only state with a top 5 foreclosure rate to document a year-over-year increase in foreclosure activity.

Rounding out RealtyTrac’s top 10 list were Utah, Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, and Hawaii.

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