Thursday, February 11, 2010

RealtyTrac: Foreclosures Decline in January, Surge Expected over Next Few Months

by Calculated Risk on 2/11/2010 12:01:00 AM

Press Release: U.S. Foreclosure Activity Decreases 10 Percent in January

RealtyTrac® ... today released its January 2010 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 315,716 U.S. properties during the month, a decrease of nearly 10 percent from the previous month but still 15 percent above the level reported in January 2009. The report also shows one in every 409 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in January.

REO activity nationwide was down 5 percent from the previous month but still up 31 percent from January 2009; default notices were down 12 percent from the previous month but still up 4 percent from January 2009; and scheduled foreclosure auctions were down 11 percent from the previous month but still up 15 percent from January 2009.

“January foreclosure numbers are exhibiting a pattern very similar to a year ago: a double-digit percentage jump in December foreclosure activity followed by a 10 percent drop in January,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac “If history repeats itself we will see a surge in the numbers over the next few months as lenders foreclose on delinquent loans where neither the existing loan modification programs or the new short sale and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure alternatives works.”
emphasis added
There probably was an increase in foreclosure activity in February, since many of the trial modifications have now ended. However I also think a key theme in 2010 will be short sales, and that might mean fewer foreclosures in 2010 than in 2009 - but still more distressed sales (just a different mix).