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LPS Finds Foreclosure Starts Declined in January but Outpaced Sales

Data released by ""Lender Processing Services"":http://www.lpsvcs.com (LPS) Wednesday shows that while foreclosure starts decreased in the first month of 2011, they still outnumber foreclosure sales by almost three to one.

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According to ""the Florida-based company's analysis"":http://www.lpsvcs.com/NewsRoom/IndustryData/Documents/2011%20-01%20January%20Mortgage%20Monitor/LPS_Mortgage_Monitor_January_2011.pdf, lenders initiated 230,000 foreclosure actions in January, down 11.4 percent from the previous month. Foreclosure sales â€" the last stage of the foreclosure process â€" totaled approximately 80,000 during the same month.

LPS notes that foreclosure sales numbers remain ""artificially low"" due to moratoria enacted last fall following the industry's robo-signing scandal.

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At the same time, repeat foreclosures - loans that had cured in one way or another, but have fallen back into foreclosure - now account for more than 35 percent of foreclosure starts, LPS said.

As of the end of January, foreclosure inventories -- which LPS defines as loans that have been referred to a foreclosure attorney but have not yet reached the final stage of foreclosure sale -- stood at nearly eight times historical averages.

January's data showed that the foreclosure process continues to drag out as the timelines for foreclosure starts, days in inventory and sales all continue to extend. According to LPS, almost 30 percent of loans in foreclosure have not made a payment in over two years.

Serious delinquencies continue to rise as well. LPS says deterioration in the 90-plus days delinquent category increased in January for the first time since May 2010.

As of January 31, 2011, there were more than 2.2 million loans 90 days or more delinquent but not yet in foreclosure, according to LPS' data.

The company puts the industry's total volume of nonperforming mortgages at 6.9 million, taking into account all loans that are in some stage of delinquency or in foreclosure.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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