RealtyTrac’s US Foreclosure Market Report for first-quarter 2012 shows that foreclosure filings including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions were reported on 572,928 properties during the quarter, down 16% from first-quarter 2011. This is the lowest quarterly total since fourth-quarter 2007, when 527,740 properties with foreclosure filings were reported. The report shows one in every 230 US housing units with a foreclosure filing during the quarter.
Also, foreclosure filings were reported on 198,853 US properties in March, a 4% decrease from February and a 17% 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.
Despite a drop in the national foreclosure rate of 2% from fourth-quarter 2011 to first-quarter 2012, soon-to-be-released first-quarter data is expected to reveal a spike in short sales, and a nationwide surge in foreclosure activity will hit between August and November, Daren Blomquist, VP of real estate data research company RealtyTrac, reports. Still, he says, the low numbers “indicate that we are now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel in this foreclosure crisis, particularly in some of the hardest-hit states that are driving the national trends, namely California, Arizona and Nevada, along with some other non-judicial foreclosure states.”
“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,” says Brandon Moore, CEO 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.”
RealtyTrac will release its first-quarter foreclosure sales report on May 31.
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