Nov 16, 2011 | 221 views | 0 | 4 | | | permalink
Foreclosure filings — including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions — were issued on 230,678 homes in October, up 7 percent from September but 31 percent below the level of October 2010, according to the report issued by RealtyTrac Thursday.
RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio said the uptick represents more "unclogging of the pipeline," as foreclosure activity suppressed by the robo-signing scandal eases its way out of the system and the process reaccelerates. Many lenders and servicers were forced to slow or halt foreclosure activity after revelations of the improperly signed documents.
"We expected this uptick to occur, since the pipeline was 'suppressed,' so to speak," Saccacio said in an interview.
Nevada, California and Arizona remain the states with the highest foreclosure rates.
Saccacio noted state rules on foreclosures can impact activity.
Nevada, for instance, recently changed rules on what a lender must do when filing a notice of default — the first step in the foreclosure process. The state passed a law that went into effect in October requiring that institutions file affidavits in connection with the launch of the foreclosure process. The affidavits make Nevada a "judicial" foreclosure state, meaning the process is slower because it requires more public paperwork. The result, Saccacio said, is that Nevada default notices fell dramatically last month.
James McHugh, a Realtor specializing in distressed property at Las Vegas-based 1st Realty Group, said lenders filed about 4,000 default notices in his market in September, before the change, but that fell to about 50 notices in October.
"In the past, we were a non-judicial foreclosure state where the process used to take about a year," he says. "My opinion is that this could cause a bubble market, where inventory of these homes shrinks but then pops back up later. A foreclosure could take three years."
McHugh says he speculates that this could dry up the pipeline of inventory and improve the market for a time, but a major uptick in foreclosures might hurt the market later.
Nationally, default notices rose 10 percent month over month, but were down 23 percent from October 2010. States where there was a notable increase in notices included Indiana (61 percent), Pennsylvania (50 percent) and Florida (up 28 percent).
Foreclosure auctions scheduled in October rose 8 percent from September but were down 38 percent from this time last year. Auction activity was notably higher in Florida (57 percent), Minnesota (43 percent) and Illinois (38 percent), but those states' activity levels were still lower than in October 2010.
Lender repossessions rose 4 percent in October but remained 27 percent below October 2010 levels. Major increases were seen in Michigan, Oregon, New Jersey and Indiana.
Here is RealtyTrac's September "heat map" of foreclosures. We'll update it when we get the October map.