Foreclosure filings nearly doubled in October and more people could lose their homes in 2008, according to a report released Thursday.
In October, 224,451 foreclosure filings were reported nationwide, up 94 percent from October 2006 and up 2 percent from September, according to RealtyTrac.
In the month, 53,609 U.S. homeowners were forced out of homes repossessed by banks, up from 20,768 a year ago, the firm said. Through October, a total of 309,557 homes have been repossessed by banks leading to forced evictions.
“Some people are in over their heads, owing more than what they can sell their house for,” said RealtyTrac spokesman Daren Blomquist.
For the full year, RealtyTrac expects 2 million homes to have entered the foreclosure process – including bank repossessions, default notices and auction sale notices.
Foreclosures could hit homeowners even harder in the beginning of 2008, Blomquist said. Homeowners experiencing trouble in the fall may not see a foreclosure notice until the January or later, he said.
On top of that, adjustable-rate mortgages are scheduled to reset in greater numbers through 2008, sending homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments higher, possibly to unmanageable levels.
“The other side of the vise pressing on these people is that it’s harder to refinance because lenders’ standards are tighter,” Blomquist added.
Home foreclosure filings in October edged up 2 percent from September but at 224,451 were a whopping 94 percent higher than a year earlier, real estate data firm RealtyTrac said on Thursday.
The figure, a sum of default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions, was down from a 32-month peak in August however, RealtyTrac, an online market of foreclosure of properties, said in its monthly foreclosure market report.
RealtyTrac said the national foreclosure rate was one filing for every 555 U.S. households in October.
“Overall foreclosure activity continues to register at a high level compared to last year but it appears to have leveled off over the past two months after hitting a high for the year in August,” James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said in a statement.
In September, home foreclosure filings fell 8 percent.
Default rates in the subprime segment of the U.S. mortgage market, which caters to borrowers with poor credit histories, have jumped this year as the housing industry slowed and prices fell in many regions, particularly areas that benefited the most during the housing market’s boom from 2000 to 2005.
“Default notices were down nearly 9 percent in October, indicating that some of the efforts on the part of homeowners, lenders and advocacy groups to find alternatives to foreclosure may be starting to have an impact. On the other hand, bank repossessions were up nearly 35 percent, evidence that more homeowners who enter foreclosure are losing their homes,” Saccacio said.