Repossessions Drop to Lowest Level in More Than 6 Years

Real Estate Home Foreclosure Legal Notice And Keys

LOS ANGELES -- Lenders repossessed fewer U.S. homes in January, bringing the number of completed foreclosures down to the lowest level in more than six years.

Even so, many states posted sharp increases in the number of homes entering the foreclosure process for the first time, a trend that raises the likelihood that those states will see a surge in foreclosed homes later this year.

Banks took back 30,226 homes last month, a drop of 4 percent from December, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac said Thursday.

Completed foreclosures were down 40 percent from January last year to the lowest level since July 2007, the firm said.

A dozen states posted annual increases in foreclosures, including New York, Oklahoma, Connecticut and New Jersey.

While foreclosures remain elevated in many populous states, they have been steadily on the wane since the U.S. housing market and economy began to rebound after years of decline.

The U.S. housing market has emerged from a deep slump, aided by rising home prices, steady job growth and fewer troubled loans dating back to the housing-bubble days. Meanwhile, more homeowners are keeping up with their mortgage payments.

That's led to fewer homes entering the foreclosure pipeline on a national level.

In some states, however, there is a backlog of homes with mortgages gone unpaid. Typically these are states such as New York and Florida, where the courts play a role in the foreclosure process.
In other states, including California and Nevada, laws aimed at stalling foreclosures have extended the time it takes for the process to play out.

As a result, some of those homes with mortgages gone unpaid are only now entering the foreclosure process or being scheduled for auction.

"We're going to have this year some states that are still seeing the last surges in foreclosure activity because of continued delays in the process," said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac. "Not even an improving economy may help a lot of these."

Last month, 22 states posted annual increases in homes that got started on the path to foreclosure. Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey and California had the biggest increases. In California, foreclosure starts rose on an annual basis for the first time in more than a year.

All told, banks initiated foreclosure actions against 57,259 U.S. homes last month, a 10 percent jump from December, RealtyTrac said. Foreclosure starts typically pick up in January after slowing in December. They were down 12 percent from a year ago.

Many of these homes are likely to begin making their way through the foreclosure process this year, Blomquist said.

That said, Blomquist said he expects that completed foreclosures will decline nationally this year from 2013, when they totaled 462,970.

Foreclosures peaked in 2010 at 1.05 million and have been declining ever since.

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These reports are not accurate. In fact, the text following this also states that a major spike in brand new foreclosure filings has now occurred, and the numbers shown are what is left from the last cycle of repossessions last year... We have a "falsely created" politically driven shadow economy and a stock market all fueled artificially, NOT by the proper underlying fundamentals.... This needs to be understood by all Americans and not ignored as so many seem to do who have little information or cannot think for themselevs and live by their i-Phones daily...

February 13 2014 at 8:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to investrman's comment

Read the report again. The "major spike" was a 10% increase from December (when banks typically back off on initiating foreclosures). That spike is no more valid than the spike in hiring for the Christmas season. Financial institutions then crank up again after the start of the new year, just like retail employers cut temporary staff after Jan. 1. More important is the comparison of this January with last -- a 12% decline. And if you want to 'wash out' these monthly swings, compare annual foreclosures in 2010 -- over a million -- with annual foreclosures in 2013 -- under half a million. But by all means keep pretending these hasn't been an enormous improvement in this sector of the economy.

February 14 2014 at 5:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pgile's comment

Even though you are correct, your explanation probably went in one ear and out the other. Some will only believe what they want

February 20 2014 at 10:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Wow and you get paid for this....

February 13 2014 at 8:30 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply