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20Apr/110

Foreclosure News

It seems, these days, that most good news in the real estate market comes with a little bad, particularly when it concerns foreclosure issues.

For instance, industry observers see indications that the foreclosure crisis is improving.  A recent report by Realtytrac stated that the number of foreclosure notices filed during the first quarter of 2011 fell 15 percent over the previous quarter and  27 percent compared with the same period of 2010. Nationwide, this amounted to 681,000 properties receiving a notice of default, a scheduled auction or a foreclosure sale during the first quarter of 2011, one for every 191 households.

During the same time period, 215,046 borrowers lost their homes, which is 17 percent lower than the same period last year, and the best it has been in three years

Despite the improving picture regarding foreclosure issues, sales of existing and new home homes remain low, and home prices are not improving yet, according to industry officials. Theoretically, the low home property values and interest rates make this a great time to buy homes.  

The so-called “robo-signing scandal” that involved banks automatically signing off on foreclosures without looking into them case by case, evidently affected the rate of foreclosure. Since that scandal broke last year, many banks have cut back on filing foreclosures while they correct their procedures.

The drop in foreclosures is widespread. RealtyTrac reported that filings dropped in each of the 20 hardest-hit metro areas. Year-over-year declines reached as high as 59 percent, in Cape Coral, Fla., for the quarter. Even in Las Vegas, the hardest hit city during the foreclosure crisis, filings fell 8 percent. But Las Vegas remains the highest ranked metro area in per-capita foreclosures. One of every 31 homes absorbed a filing during the first quarter of 2011, about six times the national norm.

Nevada, Arizona and California continued to rank as the top-three states in foreclosure rates. Florida, however, a consistent fourth, has improved to eighth place for the first quarter and ninth for March, and with any luck, and a few more sales, foreclosure issues will clear up across the country, and people will be more encouraged to buy and sell condos and other homes.