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Thursday, May 17, 2012

RealtyTrac: Foreclosure activity declined in April

by Calculated Risk on 5/17/2012 12:33:00 PM

This was released earlier this morning by RealtyTrac: U.S. Foreclosure Activity Shifts Eastward in April

RealtyTrac® ... today released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for April 2012, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 188,780 U.S. properties in April, the lowest monthly total since July 2007.

April foreclosure activity decreased 5 percent from the previous month and was down 14 percent from April 2011. ...

"Rising foreclosure activity in many state and local markets in April was masked at the national level by sizable decreases in hard-hit foreclosure states like California, Arizona and Nevada,” said Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac. “Those three states, and several other non-judicial foreclosure states like them, more efficiently processed foreclosures last year, resulting in fewer catch-up foreclosures this year."

“In addition, more distressed loans are being diverted into short sales rather than becoming completed foreclosures,” Moore continued. “Our preliminary first quarter sales data shows that pre-foreclosure sales — typically short sales — are on pace to outnumber sales of bank-owned properties during the quarter in California, Arizona and 10 other states.”
First, by "Eastward", RealtyTrac really means a "shift to judicial foreclosure states".

MBA In-foreclosure by stateClick on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

Here is a repeat of a graph from the MBA showing the percent of loans in the foreclosure process by state. See: Q1 MBA National Delinquency Survey Comments. According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure activity is picking up in the judicial states - and most of those are in the east.

Note: Graph posted with permission.

Last month, RealtyTrac was saying "The [foreclosure] 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". It is still early, but they seem to be backing off the "dam bursting" a little. As I noted earlier this year, Some thoughts on housing and foreclosures:
One of the "givens" for 2012 is that the number of foreclosures will increase following the mortgage servicer settlement agreement. But I've been wondering just how big that increase will be ... the increase might be less than many people expect.
I reviewed some of the reasons that there might not be a huge flood. It is still early, but a combination of more short sales, more modifications, REO-to-rentals (including banks holding more REOs as rentals), underwater homeowners refinancing with HARP, and the slow process in judicial states will probably keep this from being a massive flood.