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Home | News | Foreclosure

Yale Law School Files Amicus Brief in ‘Stripping Off’ Mortgage Case Headed to U.S. Supreme Court

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Yale Law School's Mortgage Foreclosure Litigation Clinic and the Connecticut Fair Housing Center (CFHC) have filed an Amicus Brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the respondents in a case to decide whether underwater homeowners in Chapter 7 bankruptcy can legally eliminate the liability on second mortgages, a process known as "stripping off," according to an announcement on Yale Law School's website.

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Foreclosure Starts Retreat After Spiking in January

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Foreclosure starts dropped by 15 percent month-over-month in February, down to 79,700, the lowest level since November 2014 and their third lowest total for any month in at least seven years, according to Black Knight. This decline in foreclosure starts came just one month after the number swelled to 94,300 in January, the highest level since December 2013. Analysts concluded at that time that the spike in foreclosure starts for January was likely due to seasonality and not a forming trend.

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Lawmaker Calls for Further Examination of Servicers in 2013 Foreclosure Settlement

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The letter was prompted by news reports that surfaced earlier this month stating that Citigroup, one of the servicers named in the settlement, had missed paying some 24,000 borrowers who were owed money from the settlement. Waters sent her letter on Friday to Fed Inspector General Mark Bialek and Treasury Inspector General Eric Thorson asking them to perform further examinations to see if other borrowers were missed.

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Florida, Michigan Lead in Completed Foreclosures, But Other Numbers Do Not Correlate

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Despite both states having high numbers of completed foreclosures for the previous 12 months, other foreclosure-related statistics between the two states do not correlate. Florida's foreclosure inventory rate of 3.5 percent for January (third among states behind New Jersey and New York) was more than double the national average for the month (1.4 percent), whereas Michigan's foreclosure inventor was less than half that number (0.6 percent).

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Analyst: Recent Spike in Foreclosure Starts Likely Due to Seasonality

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According to Black Knight, however, one stat experienced an increase – foreclosure starts jumped by 5.5 percent year-over-year in January up to their highest level since December 2013. About 51 percent of January's reported total of 94,300 foreclosure starts were repeat foreclosures, according to Black Knight. January's spike in foreclosure starts is likely attributed more to seasonality than any type of pattern that may be forming, according to Black Knight's SVP of Loan Data Products, Trey Barnes.

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Report: Foreclosure Rate in Judicial States More Than Triple That of Non-Judicial States

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The foreclosure rate in judicial states was more than triple the rate in non-judicial states in January (2.4 percent compared to 0.7 percent, according to CoreLogic). New Jersey, a judicial foreclosure state, led the pack in foreclosure rate with 5.2 percent of all residential homes with a mortgage in some state of foreclosure during January. Second was New York, another judicial foreclosure state, with 4.0 percent.

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