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Foreclosure Activity up 4% in Third Quarter: RealtyTrac

New data from ""RealtyTrac"":http://www.realtytrac.com shows that foreclosure filings - including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions - were reported on 930,437 properties in the third quarter.


That figure represents a 4 percent increase from the previous quarter but a 1 percent decrease compared to the third quarter of 2009. One in every 139 U.S. homes received a foreclosure filing during the July to September timeframe.

Both bank repossessions and scheduled auctions set quarterly records, according to RealtyTrac's study, while new defaults continued to decline.

A record total of 102,134 bank repossessions were reported in the month of September alone. RealtyTrac says it's the first time repossessions have surpassed the 100,000 mark in a single month.

James J. Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac, says the record number of homes taken back in September and in the third quarter means lenders are ""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.""

Saccacio says he expects to see a dip in the bank repossession stats - and possibly earlier stages of the foreclosure process - in the fourth quarter as a result of the freeze on foreclosure sales instituted by several major lenders in recent weeks as they review irregularities in foreclosure-processing documentation.


RealtyTrac's latest report puts the impact of these foreclosure moratoria into perspective. The company found that foreclosure activity in the judicial foreclosure states most affected by the paperwork problems accounted for 40 percent of all foreclosure filings in the third quarter and 36 percent of bank repossessions, or REOs.

""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,"" Saccacio said. ""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.""

Preliminary foreclosure sales numbers from RealtyTrac show that in September, overall foreclosure sales - including short sales and REO sales - accounted for 31 percent of all home sales during the month. REO sales alone accounted for 18 percent. Foreclosure sales in the states most affected by documentation issues were 32 percent of all foreclosure sales nationwide, according to the preliminary September data.

Back to the third-quarter foreclosure statistics, Nevada continued to document the nation's highest foreclosure rate, as it has for the past 15 quarters, despite a year-over-year decline in foreclosure activity. One in every 29 Nevada housing units received a foreclosure filing in Q3, almost five times the national average.

Arizona posted the second highest foreclosure rate for the fifth consecutive quarter, with one in every 55 of its homes receiving a filing. Florida claimed the No. 3 spot, with a foreclosure rate of one in every 56 housing units.

California documented the nation's fourth highest foreclosure rate in Q3 (one in every 70 homes), followed by Idaho (one in every 86 homes).

Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 in the third quarter were Utah, Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, and Hawaii.

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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