U.S. Residential Foreclosures January Drop to 6-Year Low. According to RealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for January 2013, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 150,864 U.S. properties in January, a decrease of 7 percent from the previous month and down 28 percent from January 2012. The report also shows one in every 869 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.
“The U.S. foreclosure landscape in January was profoundly altered by the effects of new legislation that took effect in California on the first of the year,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
Blomquist continued, “Dubbed the Homeowners Bill of Rights, this legislation extends many of the principles in the national mortgage settlement — including a prohibition on so-called dual tracking and requiring a single point of contact for borrowers facing foreclosure — to all mortgage servicers operating in California. In addition the new law imposes fines of up to $7,500 per loan for filing of multiple unverified foreclosure documents. As a result, the downward foreclosure trend in California accelerated into hyper speed in January, decisively shifting the balance of power when it comes to the nation’s foreclosure activity.
“For the first time since January 2007 California did not have the most properties with foreclosure filings of any state. Instead that dubious distinction went to Florida, where January foreclosure activity increased on an annual basis for the 11th time in the last 13 months.”
High-level findings from the report:
U.S. foreclosure starts were down 11 percent from the previous month and down 28 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since June 2006 — a 79-month low.
U.S. bank repossessions (REO) decreased 5 percent from the previous month and were down 24 percent from January 2012 to the lowest level since February 2008.
The national decrease in foreclosure starts was caused in large part by a sharp drop in California notices of default (NOD) in January, down 62 percent from December and down 75 percent from January 2012 to the lowest level since October 2005.
Scheduled foreclosure auctions increased from the previous month in 26 states and the District of Columbia, hitting 12-month or more highs in several key judicial foreclosure states, including Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, although foreclosure starts were down on a year-over-year basis in Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
Some of the biggest year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts came in non-judicial foreclosure states where legislation or court rulings stalled foreclosure actions last year: Arkansas (539 percent increase), Washington (179 percent increase), and Nevada (87 percent increase).
Florida posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the fifth month in a row in January, and also had the highest number of properties with foreclosure filings for the month, marking the first month since January 2007 that California has not had the highest number of properties with foreclosure filings.
By Michael Gerrity, World Property Channel on February 15, 2013 10:32 AM
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