Thursday, April 12, 2012

RealtyTrac: Q1 2012 Foreclosure Activity Lowest Since Q4 2007

by Bill McBride on 4/12/2012 12:01:00 AM

From RealtyTrac: Q1 2012 Foreclosure Activity Lowest Since Q4 2007

RealtyTrac ... today released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for the first quarter of 2012, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 572,928 properties during the quarter, down 2 percent from the previous quarter and down 16 percent from the first quarter of 2011.

The first quarter total was the lowest quarterly total since the fourth quarter of 2007, when 527,740 properties with foreclosure filings were reported.

Foreclosure filings were reported on 198,853 U.S. properties in March, a 4 percent decrease from February and a 17 percent decrease from March 2011. March’s total was the lowest monthly total since July 2007, and also the first monthly total below 200,000 since July 2007.

“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,” said Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “There are hairline cracks in the dam, evident in the sizable foreclosure activity increases in judicial foreclosure states over the past several months, along with an increase in foreclosure starts in many judicial and non-judicial states in March. 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.”
...
The nationwide decrease in foreclosure activity was caused primarily by decreasing activity in states that use the non-judicial foreclosure process. These 24 states combined, along with the District of Columbia, had 329,854 properties with foreclosure filings during the quarter, more than half the national total — but a decrease of 8 percent from the previous quarter and a decrease of 28 percent from the first quarter of 2011.
...
Meanwhile foreclosure activity increased in states that primarily use the judicial foreclosure process. These 26 states combined accounted for 243,074 properties with foreclosure filings during the quarter, an increase of 8 percent from the previous quarter and an increase of 10 percent from the first quarter of 2011.

Judicial states posting some of the biggest year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity in the first quarter included Indiana (up 45 percent), Connecticut (up 38 percent), Massachusetts (up 26 percent), Florida (up 26 percent), South Carolina (up 26 percent), and Pennsylvania (up 23 percent).
The mortgage settlement was just signed off last week, so we really have to wait until April or May to see the impact of the settlement. Obviously RealtyTrac thinks the dam is about to burst and the market will be flooded again with foreclosures. My feeling is this will have more of an impact on the judicial states because of the huge backlog in those states.

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