Despite the many programs gearing up or in place to help homeowners resolve
problems with their mortgages, foreclosure related activities
continued to increase in January. But, perhaps partially because of these programs,
the rate of increase appears to be slowing from the pace of previous months.
In a report released Tuesday, RealtyTrac®, a company that provides foreclosure
data to a number of media markets, stated that foreclosure filings which include
default notices, auction sales notices, and bank repossessions increased 8 percent
in January from the December numbers. One year ago the January figure was 19
percent higher than that for December.
There were a total of 233,001 properties against which foreclosure actions
were taken during the month; 45,327 of these homes were actually repossessed
by the lender, 90 percent more than in January 2007.
The January 2008 filings increased nearly 57 percent over
January 2007. Last month's report revealed that the December pace of filings
was 7 percent higher than the month before but nearly double the figure in December
RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio said "January's foreclosure
numbers demonstrate that foreclosure activity is continuing on its upward trend,
substantially increasing from a year ago in many states. However, the 8 percent
monthly increase in January is not as precipitous as the 19 percent spike we
saw in January of 2007, and several key states actually experienced decreasing
foreclosure activity from the previous month. It could be that some of the efforts
on the parts of lenders and the government - both at the state and federal level
- are beginning to take effect. The big question is whether those efforts are
truly helping homeowners avoid foreclosure in the long term or if they are just
temporarily forestalling the inevitable for many beleaguered borrowers."
Nevada, in spite of the fact that foreclosure activity decreased 45 percent
from December, still had the highest foreclosure rate in the country with 6,087
actions, a 0.597 rate. California, Florida, Arizona, and Colorado rounded out
the top five.
In actual number of foreclosure actions, California led all other states. Filings
were reported on a total of 57,158 properties in the state in January. This
was a 7 percent increase from December and 120 percent higher than one year
earlier. Florida's activity was down 3 percent from the previous month
but the state was still second in the nation with 30,178 filings. This figure
was 158 percent higher than one year earlier. Texas, Ohio, Michigan, and Georgia
each had more than 10,000 actions reported during the month.