U.S. Foreclosure Filings Hit Record for Second Straight Month
Posted by Xeno on May 13, 2009
Foreclosure filings in the U.S. rose to a record for the second consecutive month in April as banks increased efforts to seize homes from delinquent borrowers.
A total of 342,038 properties received a default or auction notice or were seized last month, RealtyTrac Inc. of Irvine, California, said today in a statement. One in 374 households got a filing, the highest monthly rate since the property data service began issuing such reports in 2005.
“What you’re seeing is the inevitable result of severe job losses,” Nicolas Retsinas, director of housing studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in an interview. “Until we stem the job losses, we can expect to see continuing foreclosures.”
Unemployment is hampering the housing market as property prices fall. The U.S. jobless rate rose to 8.9 percent, the highest in more than a quarter century, the Labor Department said May 9. Home prices fell the most on record in the first quarter to a median $169,000 amid sales of foreclosure properties, the National Association of Realtors said yesterday.
Foreclosure filings jumped 32 percent from the year-earlier period, RealtyTrac said. Filings were little changed from March as some states delayed seizures. Ten states accounted for three- quarters of all foreclosures in April, with California leading the nation.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said yesterday there are signs the real estate market is recovering.
“Since January we’ve seen both home sales moving up and down around a relatively stable number and we are seeing the first signs that the rapid decline in home prices is starting to abate,” Donovan said at an NAR conference in Washington.
March prices fell less than in February and 17 states showed sales increases, yesterday’s NAR report showed, as buyers took advantage of mortgage rates below 5 percent. The Federal Reserve is purchasing mortgage-backed securities to spur lower rates.
While price declines are slowing, it’s likely bank seizures will increase in the coming months, RealtyTrac Chief Executive Officer James Saccacio said.
“Lenders and servicers are beginning foreclosure proceedings on delinquent loans that had been delayed by legislative and industry moratoria,” Saccacio said.
California was No. 1 in April with 96,560 filings, a 42 percent increase from a year earlier, RealtyTrac reported. Florida climbed 75 percent to 64,588, Nevada rose 111 percent to 16,266 and Arizona rose 40 percent to 16,245.