Home Repossessions Plunge 28% in November

bank owned propertyThe number of U.S. homes taken back by lenders dropped to the lowest level in 18 months in November, the result of foreclosure freezes enacted by several banks following allegations that evictions were handled improperly.

Home repossessions dropped 28 percent from October and 12 percent from November last year, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

The 67,428 homes lenders took back last month were the fewest since May 2009. But even with the decline, it was enough to push the total number of repossessions so far this year to more than 980,000 - the highest annual tally of properties lost to foreclosure on RealtyTrac's records dating back to 2005.

"It's almost impossible to imagine that we won't break a million" for the year, said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at RealtyTrac. "Unfortunately, it's a record that we'll probably break again next year."

Banks had been on pace to take back up to 1.2 million homes this year before problems with foreclosure documents surfaced in late September.

Several lenders responded to heightened scrutiny over the foreclosure process by temporarily ceasing taking action against borrowers severely behind in payments while they checked to see if their employees made errors in loan documents needed to complete foreclosures.

Some banks later announced plans to resume foreclosures, though at a more measured pace, in an attempt to ensure there aren't any flaws in the process.

Lenders' initial freeze and slow ramp-up in foreclosure activity likely caused the sharp decline in foreclosure-related notices sent to households last month. And it's likely to cause another drop in December, Sharga said.

But activity will likely pick up with in the new year.

"In the first quarter, we really anticipate seeing a pretty rapid acceleration of foreclosure proceedings as everybody catches up," Sharga said.

Banks' foreclosure document problems aside, many of the factors that have contributed to the foreclosure crisis are likely to be present next year and should continue to drive foreclosures.

Among them: high unemployment, a weak housing market, flat-to-falling home values and tighter lending standards making it tougher for buyers to qualify for financing.

In addition, there are some 5 million mortgages that are at least two months past due, and many of them have yet to even enter the foreclosure process.

Meanwhile, millions of homeowners owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth, which makes it more likely they will default on their loan.

About 10.8 million households, or 22.5 percent of all homes with a mortgage, were under water in the July-September quarter, according to housing data firm CoreLogic. The figure is down from 23 percent in the second quarter, mainly because more homes fell into foreclosure and not because home prices increased.

In all, 262,339 U.S. homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice in November, or one in every 492 households. The notices were down 21 percent from October and down 14 percent from November last year, RealtyTrac said.

The firm tracks notices for defaults, scheduled home auctions and home repossessions - warnings that can lead up to a home eventually being lost to foreclosure.

The decline in foreclosure activity was most pronounced in the more than 20 states that require foreclosures to be approved by judges and where many of the documentation errors came to light.

Initial notices sent to homeowners in those states who fell behind on their mortgage were off 43 percent from last year, while foreclosure auctions were down 38 percent, RealtyTrac said.

Some 37 states recorded a drop in home repossessions from October to November.

The number of foreclosure-related notices sent to homes in Nevada fell 20 percent from October, but the state still registered the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. last month, with one in every 99 households receiving a foreclosure notice. That's nearly 5 times the national average.

Utah leapfrogged several states to the No. 2 spot, mostly because of sharp monthly drops in foreclosure activity in California, Florida, Arizona and Michigan.

One in every 221 households in Utah received a foreclosure-related notice in November, more than twice the national average.

California posted the third-highest foreclosure rate despite a nearly 14 percent drop in foreclosure activity.

Rounding out the top 10 states with the highest foreclosure rate in November were: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Idaho, Illinois and Colorado.

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I think we need to hold the politicians and financial institutions accountable for their greed and misrepresentation. I am tired of hearing how our government needs to raise taxes or take away government jobs such as police, fire or any other services people need. It is the same old excuse. Why should we pay for their greed and spending problems.
The financial institutions alway have and will continue to profit from scamming, cheating, and robbing the american people and the government turns a blind eye because they are just as guilty.

December 16 2010 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LEE Resolution

5:34 PM Dec 16, 2010

This is also their way to keep us occupied while they are out there spraying toxic substances on us. Don't believe it... pay attention and look up every once in awhile. G

How about getting the JFK assassination conspiracy figured out first, before you tackle the 'toxic spraying' conspiracy.

December 16 2010 at 5:37 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to LEE Resolution's comment
Millwork Manager

To damn many, and we will never get any of them out of the way. Furthermore, Conspiracy theory is something you quite can't put your finger on, or prove.... There are citizens in Arizona that have been taking air quality samples that are showing exactly that, severe toxic poisening of the air over phoenix. Barium, Aluminum Oxide, Cadmium.... off the charts on spray days... and, you can see the jet liners literally spewing the stuff out. So... is that all make believe, and a conspiracy theory? Wake up sheeple...

December 16 2010 at 5:57 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

How about buying a house You can afford? How about paying off Your credit cards each month because You live within Your means? I'm tired of bailing everybody else out when their house is twice (or 3 times) the size of mine, and their vehicles cost almost as much as My Humble Home. Time to stop trying to keep up with the Hiltons.

December 16 2010 at 5:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

This is also their way to keep us occupied while they are out there spraying toxic substances on us. Don't believe it... pay attention and look up every once in awhile. Go to this link and watch all seven of them. It is well worth your time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K9rXydMmfw&feature=related

December 16 2010 at 5:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey Genious's... how many short sales are in the works... Part of the bailout particularly 5-6 months ago, there is HAFFA funds for relocation with Fannie and Freddie mortgages now. Not only are many trying for those funds, it is prolonging the foreclosure process yet again. The media never gives up in failing to investigate and tell the truth. Particularly where this Obama regime stands.

December 16 2010 at 5:31 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

cuz they froze their processes to make sure they could get their ducks in a row with the congress and senate, and then onward and upward for the theiving bastards... look around, people, it ain't just the poor who are getting tossed out of their homes on their keisters, its you and me!... like the old adage from WWII goes, when they came for the gypsies i did nothing, when they came for the gays i did nothing, when they came for the jews i did nothing, when they came for the catholic priests i did nothing, and when they came for me, there was no one left to do anything...

December 16 2010 at 5:10 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

So misleading...the ONLY reason they "plunged" is becasue most of the "big" banks "froze" any actions being taken...I wish there was honesty in news.

December 16 2010 at 4:46 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

What ever happen to the old addage, "If you don't pay, you don't stay"? I do feel we should help the people who lost jobs and bought within their means. But for all those other homebuyers who bought beyound their means knowing they could not pay for it, no sympathy.

December 16 2010 at 4:04 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Augie Sodaro

No story here! First 2 lines said it all. Banks withholding forclosures! They are still out there.

December 16 2010 at 4:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I lost my job on oct,12.2010. I haven't been able to pay my mortgage since then. I have paid 312,000 in intrest on a house that i only paid 136,000 for. Not taking any other refi or any money off the top of equity. I have been here for 10 years. I called Bof A who holds my mortgage and I was told I missed the obama give away on lower intrest mortgages, I asked if they could give me a way to put like 6 months on the back of the mortgage. So what am I to do. I have never been late and always paid all my bills every time they were due or before. Any advise from any one?????????????????

December 16 2010 at 3:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gary's comment
Millwork Manager

Put the house up for short sale and get someone you know and trust to buy it at todays valuation.

December 16 2010 at 6:00 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply