DEC 12, 2013 9:35am ET

Housing Crisis Entering Final Stage: RealtyTrac

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The end of the housing crisis appears to be nearing closer as foreclosure starts in November fell to the lowest level in eight years.

A total of 52,826 U.S. properties began the foreclosure process for the first time in November, down 10% from the previous month and a 32% drop on a yearly basis. November foreclosure starts increased from a year ago in 15 states, the Irvine Calif.-based analytic provider said.  

Overall, default, scheduled, and repossession notices were sent to 113,454 homeowners during the month, which is a 15% decrease from October. Compared to a year earlier, the latest monthly foreclosure filings are down 37%.  

“While some of the decrease in November can be attributed to seasonality, the depth and breadth of the decrease provides strong evidence that we are entering the ninth inning of this foreclosure crisis with the outcome all but guaranteed,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “While foreclosures will likely continue to stage a weak rally in certain markets next year as the last of the distress left over from the Great Recession is dealt with, it is highly unlikely that there will be a foreclosure comeback that poses any major threat to the solid housing recovery that has now taken hold.”

Banks took back the fewest households since July 2007 by repossessing 30,461 properties in November. This figure is down month-over-month and year-over-year by 19% and 48%, respectively.

Only five states posted increases in REO activity from a year ago, with Delaware up 179%, Maryland saw a 41% uptick, Connecticut was up 9%, Maine experienced a 6% rise and Iowa  had a 2% increase.

Scheduled foreclosure auctions—foreclosure starts in some states—were higher in 19 states from a year ago, led by Oregon which surged by 726%. Other notable states that experienced an uptick in auction notices were Massachusetts, Utah, Connecticut, Delaware and New York.  

Florida maintained the nation’s highest foreclosure rate with one in every 392 housing units with a foreclosure filing. The Sunshine State also had four of the top five metropolitan markets with a population over 200,000 that had the highest foreclosure rates, led respectively from first to fourth by Jacksonville, Miami, Port St. Lucie and Palm Bay.

“Foreclosures continue to steadily decrease every month as the banks are catching up with their ghost and zombie foreclosure properties,” said Sheldon Detrick, CEO of Prudential Detrick/Alliance Realty. “There will always be defaults, but it’s clear that we are working our way back towards a normal housing market.”

Comments (3)
Regarding Oregon, the state put in place protection rules and required lenders to try and do a final work out for loan mods, etc. Lenders saw a back door and changed to judicial foreclosure. Then the state saw that and closed it. However, several supreme court decisions were a bit more positive toward lenders, and that gave them the confidence to start both types of foreclosures up again. Currently, the court system is moving quickly.Judicial cases are no longer as backlogged as they were the first half of 2013.

I have a big problem with this articles headline. 'Final stage"? Really? This is FAR from over. Many thousands of already modified load are going bad, and many more thousands of owners with no equity, adjustables that are still to rise, etc will be going into default.

Media spin. Marvin Von Renchler

Posted by marvin V | Thursday, December 12 2013 at 2:46PM ET
What world are you living in and what are you trying to sell with this slanted piece writing? In Western Washington alone there are 350,000 underwater households and 18% of those have stopped paying their mortgages. This housing collapse is not nearly over. Who is going to pick up the slack? Kids out of college with student loans and no jobs? Baby boomers who are trying to get rid of debt? Those in the middle who have seen their incomes drop and their expenses go up.

Housing values are going to have to drop again to make them affordable in our "new economy". I'm not telling you anything you don't already know but yet you chose to publish this inaccurate sales piece.

Pravda lives. Congratulations comrades.

Posted by Howard B | Thursday, December 12 2013 at 9:59PM ET
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