The fall of Formal Foreclosure

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For the 21st month in a row in July formal foreclosures fell as repossessed U.S. residential properties run into problems of their own. 53,654 foreclosures were completed during the month, a 21% fall from a year ago and a 1% drop from June according to RealtyTrac.

REO’s owned by Banks also has fell on an annualized basis in 38 states and the District of Columbia. California, Nevada, Virginia and Georgia had some of the biggest drops in foreclosed property sales, all of which are non-judicial foreclosure states. Initial notices of default and foreclosure notices were filed against 191,925 properties in July, showing a 10% decrease from last year.

Who can you attribute for the decline? Increases in bank assisted short sales and mortgages modifications by lenders involved in the robo-signing scandal could be the cause. Foreclosures were halted in 27 out of 50 states, 16 being judicial states, during the robo-signing scandal and resumed the process in the past few months.

“Foreclosure activity patterns vary significantly from state to state, often hinging on the level of dysfunction that exists in each state’s foreclosure process,” said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist.

“In states like Florida, Illinois and New Jersey, where processing and procedural issues slowed foreclosure activity to a crawl last year, foreclosure numbers continue to rebound off those artificially low levels. But in states like Texas, Arizona and Virginia, where the average time to foreclose is well below the national average of 378 days, foreclosure activity continues on a long-term downward trend.”

New laws and consumer driven legislation enacted in many states are likely to lengthen the time it takes to finalize a foreclosure, and halt foreclosures in some states all together. However, foreclosure starts initiated by banks increased for the third straight month in July, with 98,174 being filed, RealtyTrac figures showed.

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