- Peter KingJanuary 13, 2011 - MortgageLoan.com
Thursday, Jan 13, 2011
A record number of U.S. homes were subject to foreclosure in 2010, a number that would have been even higher had several major lenders not suspended foreclosure actions in the wake of the robo-signing foreclosure scandal, according to a new report from foreclosure data firm RealtyTrac.
Foreclosure filings â including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions â were reported on 2.87 million U.S. properties in 2010, a 2 percent increase over 2009. The figure works out to approximately one home in 45, or 2.23 percent of the U.S. housing stock.
If not for the robo-signing controversy, which broke in early October, the total could have easily surpassed 3 million, said James Saccacio, RealtyTrac CEO.
âEven so, 2010 foreclosure activity still hit a record high for our report,â he said. âMany of the foreclosure proceedings that were stopped in late 2010 â which we estimate may be as high as a quarter million â will likely be re-started and add to the numbers in early 2011.â
Over 1 million repossessions
A record 1.05 million homes were repossessed through foreclosure in 2010, up from the previous record of 918,000 in 2009. However, notices of default - the first step in the foreclosure process - fell to 1.17 million, down from a record 1.47 million in 2009 and the lowest total since 2007.
Foreclosure activity declined significantly during the fourth quarter of the year, as several large lenders suspended foreclosures to review documentation practices. The robo-signing scandal erupted after it was reported that some large mortgage servicers were taking shortcuts with the legal procedures required in foreclosures in order to cope with the large volume of delinquent mortgages.
Foreclosure filings were reported on just under 800,000 homes in the fourth quarter of 2010, a 14 percent decline from the third quarter of the year and the lowest quarterly total since the fourth quarter of 2008. Of those, nearly 230,000 were bank repossessions, the final step of the foreclosure process.
Most foreclosures in just five states
Five states accounted for just over half of all foreclosure activity in 2010, with California, Florida, Arizona, Illinois and Michigan documenting foreclosure actions on 1.5 million properties. This was despite the top three states â California, Florida and Arizona â registering annual declines of 14 percent, 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively. Illinois and Michigan each saw increases of 15 percent over 2009 activity.
Nevada continued to have the nationâs highest foreclosure rate for the fourth year in a row, over 9 percent of all homes subjected to foreclosure filings, or about one in 11. Arizona was second, at 5.73 percent (one in 17) and Florida was third at 5.51 percent (one in 18). California (4.08 percent) and Utah (3.44 percent) rounded out the top five.