Foreclosure Activity Up 17 Percent In March

osure filings increased 9% from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of this year, according to the most recent data released by RealtyTrac. Filings were reported on 803,489 properties in the first quarter – a jump of nearly 24% from the first quarter of last year. One in every 159 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing during the quarter. Foreclosure filings were reported on 341,180 properties in March – a 17% increase from the previous month and a 46% increase from March 2008. The March and first-quarter 2009 totals were the highest monthly and quarterly totals since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005, despite a decrease in real estate owned properties (REOs), which were down 13% from the fourth quarter of 2008 and 3% from February totals. "In the month of March, we saw a record level of foreclosure activity – the number of households that received a foreclosure filing was more than 12 percent higher than the next highest month on record. Since much of this activity was in new foreclosure actions, it suggests that many lenders and servicers were holding off on executing foreclosures due to industry moratoria and legislative delays," says James J. Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac. "It's also likely that the drop in REO activity can be attributed to these processing delays, rather than to any of the foreclosure prevention programs currently in place. It's very likely that we'll see the number of REOs increase again now that most of the moratoria have been lifted. Interest in properties – especially of the REO variety – is up in some of the nation's worst-hit areas, Saccacio adds. Still, he says "it's unlikely that this increased demand will be enough to offset the growing number of foreclosures in the pipeline, accelerated by rising unemployment rates." Nevada continued to document the nation's highest state foreclosure rate in the first quarter, with one in every 27 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, which is more than five times the national average. Foreclosure filings were reported on 41,296 Nevada properties during the quarter – an increase of 19% from the previous quarter. Bank repossessions in Nevada were down 3% from the previous quarter, but defaults increased 27%, and auction sale notices increased 35%. Arizona posted the nation's second highest state foreclosure rate for the first quarter, with one in every 54 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, and California posted the nation's third highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 58 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing. SOURCE: Rea


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