Growing Unemployment Drives Foreclosures Higher

Troubled by growing unemployment and decaying consumer confidence, foreclosures were higher in the first half of the year over 2009, despite a decline in filings over the last six months, according to the Realty Trac mid-year report. Some 1,654,634 residential properties were filed against during the first half of the year.

However, foreclosure notices, including notices of default, auction sales and bank repossessions were filed against 313,841 properties nationwide in June, a 3% drop from May. June represented the sixteenth consecutive month that the number of properties with foreclosure filings exceeded 300,000, indicating that the U.S. foreclosure crisis is sustaining its record levels.

Vacant foreclosure

Foreclosure Pace Slows, But Only Sort of…

But the pace at which properties are entering the foreclosure process is slowing as banks act to delay foreclosures through short sales and mortgage modifications. However, lenders are also catching up with a back-log of troubled properties in the foreclosure pipeline, formally repossessing homes at a faster rate.

“The midyear numbers put us on pace to exceed 3 million properties with foreclosure filings by the end of the year, and more than 1 million bank repossessions,” said Realty Trac CEO James Saccacio.

Nevada, Arizona, Florida Highest

Three states compiled the highest number of foreclosure notices, Nevada, Florida and Arizona. Nearly 6% of Nevada housing units received at least one foreclosure filing in the first half of the year, making Nevada the nation’s foreclosure capitol. Some 64,429 Nevada homes received a foreclosure, despite a decline of 13% from the previous six months.

Arizona was the second highest in the first half of the year with more than 3% of housing receiving a foreclosure filing. With more than 60% of all homes with mortgages in default, Florida attained the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate as second home and vacation owners walk away from mortgages on condos and homes at rapidly increasing rates.

California, Florida and Arizona posted the highest foreclosure totals during the first half of the year. However, a $10,000 special state tax credit offered to home buyers in California produced more home sales, slashing the number of foreclosure filings by 15% from the last six months as more buyers purchased bank assisted short sales and homes from owners who cut the prices on their properties to close transactions.

Florida ranked as the second highest with fewer foreclosure filings in the first half of the year. Florida declined 9% from the last half of 2009 as mortgage servicing companies work to speed up their foreclosure repossession systems to more rapidly take back properties from defaulting mortgage holders.

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