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Foreclosure activity falls to 44-month low

Foreclosure activity fell 35% in July compared to last year, hitting a
44-month low, according to foreclosure data firm

The number of foreclosure filings – which includes default notices, auctions
and bank repossessions – hit 212,764 in July, down 4% from June.

Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac added that one in every 611 housing units
experienced a foreclosure filing last month.

At the same time, REOs in the states of New York, Massachusetts, Georgia,
Virginia and Illinois grew more than 20%.

RealtyTrac attributes the drop in foreclosures to delays caused by government
and judicial interventions in the housing market and expects housing market
troubles will plague the nation well beyond 2012.

“This string of decreases was initially triggered by the robo-signing
controversy back in October 2010, which forced lenders to substantially slow the
pace of foreclosing, but the downward trend in foreclosure activity has now
taken on a life of its own,” said James Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac. “It appears
that the foreclosure processing delays, combined with the smorgasbord of
national and state-level foreclosure prevention efforts — including loan
modifications, lender-borrower mediations and mortgage payment assistance for
the unemployed — may be allowing more distressed homeowners to stave off

Several states still account for the majority of the foreclosure activity,
with 73% of foreclosures occurring in either California with 56,193 properties
facing a foreclosure filing last month, followed by Florida (22,377 foreclosure
filings), Georgia (11,461), Michigan (10,894), Illinois (10,627), Arizona
(10,098), Nevada (9,930), Ohio (8,376) and Wisconsin (4,534).

In responding to the report, Rebecca Walzak, president of Walzak
out of Florida said, “While I agree that the options
provided to distressed homeowners is allowing more to remain in their homes, it
is apparent that the overall number of borrowers that are escalating to default
and foreclosure is also decreasing.  It may be that this information is telling
us that the greatest foreclosure issues–related primarily to poor quality
originations, products and underwriting– are behind us.”

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