U.S. foreclosure filings more than doubled in the first quarter as payments rose for subprime adjustable mortgages and falling home prices left property owners unable to sell or refinance without losing money.
Almost 650,000 properties were in some stage of foreclosure during the quarter, or 1 in every 194 U.S. households, Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac Inc., a seller of foreclosure data, said today in a statement. The number was 112 percent above a year ago. Nevada, California and Arizona had the highest rates.
“This country needs a cleansing,” billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell, chairman of Equity Group Investments LLC, said yesterday at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles. “We need to clean out all those people who never should have bought in the first place, and not give them sympathy.”
Government attempts to slow the flood of defaults “could be simply deferring another flood of foreclosures,” Saccacio said in the statement. “That could extend the length of time it takes the market to recover from this downward cycle.”
“That whole process has to be liquidated,” Zell said.
California had the most filings at 169,831, and the second- highest rate at one for every 78 households. Arizona had the third-highest rate, one in every 95 households. Florida was fourth at one in 97.
The foreclosure rate was one in 110 in Colorado, one in 166 in Massachusetts, one in 202 in Maryland, one in 265 in New Jersey, and one in 550 in New York, according to the report.
From the AP:
The number of U.S. homes heading toward foreclosure more than doubled in the first quarter from a year earlier, as weakening property values and tighter lending left many homeowners powerless to prevent homes from being auctioned to the highest bidder, a research firm said Monday.
Among the hardest hit states were Nevada, Florida and, in particular, California, where Stockton led the nation with a foreclosure rate that was 6.6 times the national average, Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac Inc. said.
Nationwide, 649,917 homes received at least one foreclosure-related filing in the first three months of the year, up 112 percent from 306,722 during the same period last year, RealtyTrac said.
The latest tally also represents an increase of 23 percent from the fourth quarter of last year.