RealtyTrac has released its 2008 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows a total of approximately 3.16 million foreclosure filings – default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions – were reported on about 2.33 million U.S. properties during the year.
That total represents an 81% increase in total properties from 2007 and a 225% increase in total properties from 2006. The report also shows that 1.84% of all U.S. housing units (one in 54) received at least one foreclosure filing during the year, up from 1.03% in 2007.
Foreclosure filings were reported on 303,410 U.S. properties in December, up 17% from the previous month and up nearly 41% from December 2007. Despite the spike in December, foreclosure activity for the fourth quarter was down nearly 4% from the previous quarter, but still up nearly 40% from the fourth quarter of 2007.
"State legislation that slowed down the onset of new foreclosure activity clearly had an effect on fourth quarter numbers overall, but that effect appears to have worn off by December," says James J. Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac. "The big jump in December foreclosure activity was somewhat surprising, given the moratoria enacted by both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, along with programs from some of the major lenders and loan servicers aimed at delaying foreclosure actions against distressed homeowners."
Saccacio adds that California's Senate Bill 1137, which requires lenders to provide written notice of their intent to initiate foreclosure proceedings 30 days prior to issuing a notice of default, has delayed foreclosure proceedings, not unlike similar legislation that was passed in 2008 in Massachusetts and Maryland.