Foreclosure filings at lowest level in 56 months

Analysts caution that the first-quarter data don't indicate the crisis is over, noting that the number of foreclosure starts has increased in each of the past four months.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Apr 11, 2012 6:59PM

© moodboard/CorbisForeclosure filings in the first quarter of this year were at the lowest level in more than four years, but analysts say that doesn't mean the foreclosure crisis is over.


Continuing a trend from the previous quarter, the number of foreclosure filings continued to fall, according to first-quarter 2012 data from RealtyTrac.


The number of properties that were the subject of a foreclosure action — a default notice, scheduled auction or bank repossession — fell to 572,928 for the quarter. That was down 2% from the last quarter of 2011 and down 16% from the first quarter of 2011.


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That means that one in every 230 U.S. housing units was the subject of a foreclosure filing during the first quarter.


While the decline in foreclosure filings has held for two quarters, that trend is not likely to continue, RealtyTrac analysts cautioned.

"The low foreclosure numbers in the first quarter are not an indication that the massive reservoir of distressed properties built up over the past few years has somehow miraculously evaporated," Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said in a news release.

He noted that foreclosure activity has picked up considerably in states with mandated judicial foreclosures, where the robo-signing crisis had previously slowed the process. The number of foreclosure starts nationwide increased 7% from February to March, the fourth straight month of increase. That indicates cracks in the dam, Moore said.

"The dam may not burst in the next 30 to 45 days, but it will eventually burst, and everyone downstream should be prepared for that to happen — both in terms of new foreclosure activity and new short-sale activity," Moore said.


The 26 states that require foreclosures to go through the courts posted an 8% increase in foreclosure action from the previous quarter and a 10% increase over the first quarter of 2011.


States with the most notable increases year to year include:

  • Indiana: 45%
  • Connecticut: 38%
  • Massachusetts: 26%
  • Florida: 26%
  • South Carolina: 26%
  • Pennsylvania: 23%

By contrast, foreclosure filings declined in nonjudicial-foreclosure states, where the process was not slowed as much by document issues, in most cases. States with the most notable declines year to year include:

  • Arkansas: 79%
  • Nevada: 62%
  • Washington: 55%
  • Arizona: 41%
  • Texas: 31%.
  • California: 21%


Apr 12, 2012 6:01AM

News is news.

Whether its good or bad is an opinion.

Apr 12, 2012 5:09AM
my wife is a realtor for about 9 years now. b.o.a. gives the company more foreclosures than they can handle and they have 70 agents.its gotten worse every year since 08.all i can tell you is that this article is b-s! msnbc...great at spinning the truth.
Apr 12, 2012 4:42AM

Any more  BS ???    When will these spin-doctors go for therapy !

When the foreclosure market "slows"  - it's not because it's "all better" - it's because they are RUNNING OUT OF PEOPLE TO FORECLOSE ON!


$%^^(*& F'n    A___HOLES



Tongue out      Smile

Apr 12, 2012 4:40AM
The banks will let the country go broke, Chase dont care.
Apr 12, 2012 4:11AM

another controlled media lie.


over 11 million inventory and another huge wave is coming soon.


u got it wrong media whores

Apr 12, 2012 4:09AM
More corrupt financial corporate bullcrap!
99% American People, listen up!
Buy NO GASOLINE on April 15 (& 16 & 17 if you can help it)
Vote STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC, the life you save may be your OWN!!!

Apr 12, 2012 3:46AM
These damn reports drive me up the wall, FIRST the hit you with a very positive note and within one sentence SLAM it with a NEGATIVE.   No wonder nothing is really getting any better.  People rely on the news for positive information, hopes for an improving economy or improvement on a bad housing crisis.   Then a good report comes along only to be slammed with a negative follow up.   If you don't have anything good to say don't say it at all........
Apr 12, 2012 3:37AM

Give money to anyone that breathes and this is what you have. The banks did, the fed oversaw it, and obama and company support it. PONZI. I think its really lame that people blame the signers as if an 8 dollar an hour job with 5 kids living in NY, you need to be able to afford a 500,000 loan. Get real. The banks love it. They got paid. The homewowners and the middle class have the next 50 years to dig out. A company town!

Apr 12, 2012 3:29AM
A friend of mine had her home foreclosed on.  This was a simple small home that she had lived in for close to 10 years or more.  She did not lose her job and in fact has gotten several raises over the last several years but did go through a divorce. (the home was hers before she married) Credit card debt and extravagant spending is what got her in trouble and she filed bankruptcy just recently. Saw her the other day and she told me she is flying out to CA for a vacation.  What is wrong with this picture? These are the people who make me angry.
Apr 12, 2012 3:16AM
Sorry don't agree or believe it.   My sister works in the foreclosure/loan modification department for a major Bank (one that has not asked for government handouts) and they are swamped.  She said that they are so busy that she is logging in and working from home several hours every night to try and catch up. She has also said that they are trying to modifiy every loan possible they really do not want to go into foreclosure.
Apr 12, 2012 3:10AM

I think there is a new group of people, that  will be foreclosed on in the near future..

Not just people who bought what they couldn't afford. but people that have been in their

homes for years making the payments...and no longer can keep up with the rising cost of food, fuel, insurance, along with other everyday needs...

The hard working tax paying citizens that have taken pay cuts, moved to part time jobs,

cause that's all they can find. They will be the next group of Americans losing their homes...


Apr 12, 2012 2:35AM
The reason foreclosure filigns are down is because lenders just aren't filing as timely as they used to.  I am a housing counselor who does foreclosure counseling.  3 years ago is you were 3 months behind the banks filed.  Two years ago you could get by to 6 months.  Now I see people coming in who are as much as 2 years behind with no filinf taking place yet.  As other have said, there is a storm coming in foreclosures.  What no one else is aware of is that the Debt Foregiveness Act of 2007 is expiring at the end of 2012.  Any homeonwer who loses their home after that point is going to get a nasty surprise when they find out the IRS considers the value of the forecloused home tro be income and expect taxes to be paid on it.  THAT is when the real storm will occur.  Only Congress can prevent that and they seem incapable of doing anything execpt posturing in front of cameras.
Apr 12, 2012 1:59AM
Well of course it would be lower, they have to make it seem that the crises is almost over or how will they ever sell all those homes they now have, this is not close to being over it will still take a few years and people will not be likely to buy homes for the simple reason that, the American dream was just that a dream ...........
Apr 12, 2012 1:57AM

Stopped paying in Jan.   My partner in this, the bank, is beginning to realize that with a short sale to my left, and two foreclosures to my right, a short sale won't even help us.  No comp can be found to underwrite a mortgage for anyone.  So, I sit and receive HAMP advisories in the mail, nothing requiring signatures, with the bank knowing that I have made choice here.  I don't need help to stay in my house.   If I leave, as others say is just, who will maintain the property?   I bear witness to the remodeling crews that are working now to make our local foreclosures sellable.  Not pretty.  A fact that needs to be discussed by all is that bank EBT values are inflated by sheriff sale purchases on their books.  Sheriff sales are not competitive bidding exercises.  Reason being that in my state, there is a redemption period of 6 months following the sale that the purchaser has no rights to the property purchased.   That is the time they give persons like myself time to "make good" on the mortgage, be forgiven, and pretend nothing happened.  The banks purchase at full loan value plus fees, to ensure that the value of the property on their books remains inflated.  Banks don't take the loss until the property actually is sold.  All future sales are short sales.  What bothers me is that the current system does not allow myself to purchase at what would be the short sale price, solely due to my being the current owner.  Wouldn't[t it make sense, since the outcome can be nothing other, that the current owners of these properties be allowed to buy them, vs. another?  BTW, I have another property that will be converted to my principle residence, so future mortgages are of no concern at this time.


The new trend in allowing homeowners to live in their foreclosed homes makes sense when you take into account that it keeps home prices from falling further. It also has the practical value of allowing loan holders the essential element of time needed to negotiate loan modifications, collect rent, or just simply keep the homes (their investments) from falling apart while everyone waits for the economy and housing market in general to make some type of  sustainable recovery.  A house is so much different than other investments. Mutual funds and bonds have no physical shape, and hence don't need repairs, upkeep, and maintenance.


The current uptick in domestic and foreign investment causing the current housing run (or trot) is ephemeral at best. That's fine with me and what I'm hoping for since I'm looking to purchase a primary residence in the coming months. 


Even amongst the doom and gloom crowd, I can't see another housing collapse which would basically mean we're all screwed. I don't think the evil powers that control our fate would go as far as to let that happen.  Keep fighting America!

Apr 11, 2012 10:12PM
There are some pretty angry people commenting on the article.  I think that people ought to realize that where they live may be  better or worse than another place.  Certainly there are going to be more foreclosures.  I would suggest to you that it is a good thing that the banks in many areas are allowing the current owners to stay in their houses.  One benefit is that it helps  keep the prices from falling even more.  A gradual release of these homes would be the preferred way to go.  The worst thing that could happen would be to have all the houses that COULD be foreclosed on actually moved on.  That would cause even more havoc with neighborhoods. 

Another thing that I think is important to remember is that a large number of the houses that have been foreclosed on were mortgages that never should have been made in the first place.  It was a case of people willing to go along with the shady financing because they saw an opportunity to get what they probably knew they weren't in a position to buy.  I'm sure that my saying that will irritate a lot of people.  Probably only the people who actually did what I said though.  We all know people who did that.  Most were poor credit risks and that's where the sub-prime loans started.  They couldn't get a loan at the market rate of say 6% or so.  But at 11% there were plenty of investors who were willing to take a chance.  So I don't feel sorry for people who fit into that category. 

Apr 11, 2012 10:00PM
I think that I timed things pretty well.  I am about to close on a home now.  I purchased a short sale property and got a very good deal.  I have been watching this particular property for almost a year.  I moved to this town a  little over a year ago.  While I wanted to be here for about a year before I decided to buy or not I also was paying down some credit card debt and other bills.  For that reason I wasn't in a position to make a purchase last year when I first found this house.  Over the year the house has had several deals and all of them fell through the cracks due to failure to getting their loans.  For me it worked out well.  The price has come down another $25k and I have a locked interest rate as of today at 3.87% fixed 30 year loan. 

While I take no joy from those who have lost their homes, I do see the other side of the picture.  In truth housing prices were just unrealistic for several years and the lax underwriting only added to the problem.  Now prices have come back to about where they should be.  I imagine that my home will probably continue to go down in price over the next year.  But I can accept that and it won't be a problem because I plan on staying in the home for a number of years. 

The bad news is that people are continuing to lose their homes.  I think that we will continue to large numbers of foreclosures.  Depending upon where you live it may be better or worse but there will be plenty to go around.  That in spite of some efforts by the current administration to provide refinancing.  I only hope that this problem does eventually work itself out and responsible people will again be able to buy homes. 

Apr 11, 2012 9:38PM
How stupid do these journalists think that the readers are?????  I do not know where they got their information.  Where I live I see that there is on the average 1 house for sale or foreclosed to 10 houses.  How does that say on the bull that is in this article????   Here there is another carpet bagger selling snake bit oils.   
Apr 11, 2012 9:36PM
calm before the 2,000,000 foreclosure storm coming up this year.
Apr 11, 2012 9:28PM

On statistics show that for every house on the market there are an average of  7 being "warehoused," and being trickled to the market.


These "warehoused" homes are where people are anywhere from from 2 months late to over 2 years behind on their mortgage but foreclosure process hasn't started.


A lot of them are forclosed on but the owners are still in them and the banks are OK with that for now.     If they opened the floodgates prices will totally collapse.


It is long from over.

 A lot of mortgages are resetting higher in the next 18 months and they will demand a LOT more in principle payment above and beyond your low interest payment, forcing people into foreclosure. Some people will see their payment double.


By the way they are not modifiing anyone. That is all eye candy for the election.


 The banks win big. Any losses they incur are reimbursed by the government agencies.

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