U.S. foreclosure filings hit a record in the first half, a sign that job losses and falling property prices deepened the housing recession, according to RealtyTrac Inc.
More than 1.5 million properties received a default or auction notice or were seized by banks in the six months through June, the Irvine, California-based seller of default data said today in a statement. That’s a 15 percent increase from the year earlier. One in 84 U.S. households received a filing.
“People are losing their jobs, seeing their income go down and are underwater on their mortgage,” Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, said in an interview. “It’s a toxic combination.”
RealtyTrac®, the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today released its Midyear 2009 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows a total of 1,905,723 foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 1,528,364 U.S. properties in the first six months of 2009, a 9 percent increase in total properties from the previous six months and a nearly 15 percent increase in total properties from the first six months of 2008. The report also shows that 1.19 percent of all U.S. housing units (one in 84) received at least one foreclosure filing in the first half of the year.
Foreclosure filings were reported on 336,173 U.S. properties in June, the fourth straight monthly total exceeding 300,000 and helping to boost the second quarter total to the highest quarterly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in the first quarter of 2005. Foreclosure filings were reported on 889,829 U.S. properties in the second quarter, an increase of nearly 11 percent from the previous quarter and a 20 percent increase from the second quarter of 2008.
“In spite of the industry-wide moratorium earlier this year, along with local, state and national legislative action and increased levels of loan modification activity, foreclosure activity continues to increase to record levels,” noted James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Unemployment-related foreclosures account for much of this increased activity, and the high number of borrowers who find themselves owing more on their mortgages than their homes’ are now worth represent a potentially significant future risk. Stemming the tide of foreclosures is a critical component to stabilizing the housing market, so it is imperative that the lending industry and the government work in tandem to find new approaches to address this issue.”
From the WSJ:
National foreclosure filings in the U.S. continue shattering records, propelled by mounting unemployment and continued erosion of home values.
Filings were reported on more than 336,000 properties in June, the fourth-straight month to see the total topping 300,000, according to RealtyTrac’s latest foreclosure report released Thursday. That helped boost the second-quarter’s tally by 20% from the year-earlier period, making it the highest quarterly total since the report’s first-quarter 2005 launch. When counting this year’s first half, one in every 84 homes was slapped with at least one filing, ranging from default notices to bank repossessions.
It’s just more bad news as the limping real-estate market struggles for stability. Foreclosures can command discounts as high as 60%, a drag on surrounding home prices and appraisal values. The data also show that the government’s frantic efforts to keep Americans in their homes haven’t been completely effective, and moratoria crafted to slow foreclosures seem to simply delay the pain. Even worse, with unemployment at a rate not seen in a quarter century, there’s no relief in sight.