The number of foreclosures filed last year dropped by almost 33%, falling to the lowest level in four years, according to new data from RealtyTrac.
Throughout 2011, one out of every 69 homes were foreclosed on, while lenders repossessed a total of 804,000 homes – compared to last year’s total of 1.05 million homes being repossessed, when the foreclosure crisis was at its peak.
Thousands of communities across the USA have been plagued by foreclosures over the last five years, with a total of more than 4 million homes being foreclosed upon and repossessed. As a result, home prices across the country have tumbled downwards with no to the crisis in sight, until recently.
But is the worst really over for America’s housing market?
Apparently not quite, say analysts. Despite the reduction in foreclosures last year, this can be put down to the fact that lenders took much more time to process them than compared to previous years. The average foreclosure processing time jumped over the past 12 months to 348 days, compared to just 305 days one year ago, which explains why last year’s numbers are lower.
Brandon Moore, RealtyTrac’s CEO, told CNN Money that he expected foreclosure numbers to increase during 2012 as banks got back on track with processing following the robo-signing scandal which slowed things down previously. However, Moore noted that foreclosures were unlikely to reach the level they were at in 2010. Moore pointed out that a number of refinancing programs, such as the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), were seeing some success in helping borrowers to avoid foreclosure by lowering their monthly payments.
Even so, some areas of the country still have big problems with foreclosures. The state of Nevada for example, remains a trouble spot, with one in 16 homes receiving a default notice over the last year. Elsewhere, both Arizona and California continue to face high rates of foreclosures, and are unlikely to improve any time soon, claims RealtyTrac.