The number of foreclosure filings issued in April plunged 34% from a year ago — the seventh straight month of declines.
And there were just 69,532 homes repossessed last month, a 32% fall from the peak last September just before the eruption of the “robo-signing” scandal, in which banks were found to be mishandling the foreclosure process.
Will the seeming good news continue? No way, said Rick Sharga of RealtyTrac, which issued the latest monthly figures on Thursday.
Even with the drop, there were nearly 220,000 foreclosure filings during the month, including notices of default, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.
And there are 3.7 million borrowers at least 90 days late on payments. Normally a large percentage of them would already be in foreclosure. They are not — for two reasons.
One is that ongoing regulatory issues. Banks want to make sure their procedures are all in place.
Second, the banks have already saturated many markets with repossessions they’ve put back on the market.
“Banks can’t move inventory fast enough, at prices high enough, that they’re excited about foreclosing on any more homes,” said Sharga.
The number of properties in the U.S. that received foreclosure filings dropped 34% in April from a year ago, bringing foreclosure activity to a 40-month low, according to market researcher RealtyTrac.
RealtyTrac said 219,258 properties got a filing in April, meaning one in every 593 housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month. The activity was down 9% from March, and on an annual basis notched its seventh straight monthly decline.
The declines continued to be attributed to major delays in processing foreclosures rather than a housing recovery, according to RealtyTrac.
Chief Executive James J. Saccacio said the delays occur in two stages. The first occurs between delinquency and foreclosure, when lenders and services are no longer automatically pushing loans that are more than 90 days delinquent. Saccacio said that delay was to allow for loan modifications, short sales and other alternatives. The second delay, according to Saccacio, is occurring after the foreclosure has started, as lenders are taking longer to complete the process.