Foreclosure filings posted a 33 percent drop in 2011, falling to their lowest levels since 2007, RealtyTrac reports. During 2011, one in every 69 homes received a foreclosure filing and 804,000 homes were repossessed — compared to 1.05 million homes that were repossessed during the foreclosure crisis peak in 2010, according to RealtyTrac.
So is the worst finally over for the housing market?
Not yet, analysts say. Banks took more time to process foreclosures last year, which explains some of the declines, housing analysts note. In fact, the average process time for a foreclosure rose to 348 days in the fourth quarter, up from 305 days one year prior.
RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore says that while he expects foreclosures to increase in 2012, he also expects foreclosures to stay well below the 2010 peak. Refinancing programs, such as the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, are helping more borrowers lower their payments and avoid foreclosure, Moore says.
Still, the biggest problems with foreclosures remains centered in certain areas, particularly where investors helped drive up home prices during the housing boom. For example, Nevada remains the No. 1 foreclosure hot-spot, in which one out of every 16 households received some kind of default notice during 2011. Arizona and California also are continuing to face some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country too, according to RealtyTrac data.
Source: “Foreclosures Fall to Lowest Level Since 2007,” CNNMoney (Jan. 12, 2012)