Foreclosures Drop to 5-Year Lows

October 11, 2012

Foreclosures continue to do the opposite of what most analysts had predicted: They keep falling rather than rising. 

Foreclosure filings in September fell 7 percent from August and are down 16 percent from last September, RealtyTrac reported Thursday. Foreclosure filings include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions. 

The number of foreclosure filings in September reached their lowest level since July 2007. What’s more, foreclosure filings have decreased 13 percent in the third quarter compared to the third quarter of 2011, marking the ninth consecutive quarter with an annual decrease in foreclosure activity, RealtyTrac reports. 

“We’ve been waiting for the other foreclosure shoe to drop since late 2010, when questionable foreclosure practices slowed activity to a crawl in many areas, but that other shoe is instead being carefully lowered to the floor and therefore making little noise in the housing market — at least at a national level,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Make no mistake, however, the other shoe is dropping quite loudly in certain states, primarily those where foreclosure activity was held back the most last year.”

A backlog of delayed foreclosures in certain states may be problematic in some areas soon, Blomquist says, particularly in judicial states, where foreclosures must be approved by a court. Florida, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, and New York have posted the largest year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity.  

Meanwhile, other states are seeing large drops in foreclosure activity, mostly centered in “non-judicial” states, where foreclosures do not have to be court-approved. For example, states like California, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and Michigan have posted large drops in foreclosure activity. 

Source: RealtyTrac