According to the U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released by RealtyTrac, new foreclosure filings rose 4 percent in March. There were approximately 117,000 new foreclosure filings in March, down 23 percent from March 2013.
Foreclosure starts increased by 7 percent on a month-over-month basis, and foreclosure auctions increased monthly by 6 percent, fueling the larger foreclosure activity numbers for the month.
The report found that the average time to complete a foreclosure rose to 572 days nationwide. This is a 20 per cent increase over the first quarter of 2013. However foreclosure activity is the lowest it has been since the second quarter of 2007. Approximately 341,000 U.S. properties had a foreclosure notice in the first quarter of 2014, down 3 percent from the previous quarter. This is a 23 percent decrease from the first quarter of 2013.
“Now that the foreclosure deluge has dried up, banks are turning their attention back to properties that have been sitting in foreclosure limbo for some time,” said Daren Blomquist, VP at RealtyTrac.
“Banks will also now be able to devote more resources to dealing with the lingering inventory of nearly half a million already-foreclosed homes that still need to be sold,” Blomquist added. “Our estimates indicate only 10 percent of these bank-owned properties are listed for sale and more than half are still occupied by the former homeowner or tenant.”
In addition to foreclosure data, RealtyTrac also provided an update of occupied REOs, which the company describes as “bank-owned properties still occupied after the completed foreclosure.”
Of the roughly 259,000 bank-owned properties with available owner-occupancy data, and out of a total of approximately 483,000 bank-owned homes nationwide, 51 percent were still occupied by the former homeowner or a tenant. This proposes a problem for the banks as the eviction process could take up to 6 months. Some homes that fell through the cracks remain vacant and not on current radar so we may see these homes showing up in housing inventory as bank’s attempt to clear up their inventory of distressed homes. The average time to sell a bank-owned property in the first quarter of 2014 rose to 226 days which is a 34 percent increase from the first quarter of 2013.
The foreclosure market drying up is great news for homeowners considering selling their home. We have seen a rise month over month the past year of equity sales. If you are considering selling please consult a realtor for information.
Eileen Schamber is the president of the Lodi Association of Realtors and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.