Money Matters - Simplified

US foreclosure rate rose by 21% in 2009

RealtyTrac includes default notices, scheduled foreclosure auctions, and bank repossessions in its foreclosure data. The online foreclosure marketplace said figures for 2009 went as high as 2.82 million.

New York, January 14 -- Latest figures from RealtyTrac show that U.S. foreclosure filing rose by 21 percent last year. The online foreclosure marketplace said figures for 2009 went as high as 2.82 million.

“As bad as the 2009 numbers are, they probably would have been worse if not for legislative and industry-related delays in processing delinquent loans.

That was driven primarily by short-term factors: trial loan modifications, state legislation extending the foreclosure process and an overwhelming volume of inventory clogging the foreclosure pipeline,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer.

Foreclosures highest in July 2009
Saccacio said foreclosure filings jumped specifically in July 2009, with more than 361,000 homes receiving notices.

After July, filings dropped drastically due to short-term factors like trial loan modifications, lengthy foreclosure process, and inventory clogging.

“In the long term, a massive supply of delinquent loans continues to loom over the housing market. And many of those delinquencies will end up in the foreclosure process in 2010,” said Soccacio.

Foreclosures increased in the month of December by 14 percent as against November, 2009.

“It's been a brutal year for foreclosure activity and there's “no end in sight,” said Rick Sharga, senior vice president of RealtyTrac.

“We believe a conservative estimate is that about half of the properties that have been taken back are not currently on the market. They know if they are released on the market at the same time, they will have a devastating effect on home prices,” added Sharga.

State-wise data
The California-based online firm also computed state wise data pertaining to the foreclosure filings. California, Florida, Arizona and Illinois were the top four states which accounted for 50 percent of the foreclosures of the nation.

California and Arizona showed a 20.8 and 6 percent rise respectively, while Florida registered 5.93 percent rise. Michigan had one foreclosure for every 38 households, while Nevada and Florida each recorded a 10 percent foreclosure filing.

“Nationally, we expect 2010 to be a record-setting year,” said Sharga. “Michigan is a bit of a wild card. Its foreclosure problems were really caused by an economic downturn high unemployment and a loss of population.”

Only two states showed a drop in foreclosure filings. Indiana’s foreclosures fell by 9.9 percent, while Rhode Island dropped by 23.6 percent.

RealtyTrac includes default notices, scheduled foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions in its foreclosure data.