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Number of Homes in Foreclosure Hits Seven-Year Low

By Allison Halliday | October 11, 2013

According to an article in, the number of homes entering into foreclosure hit a seven-year low in the third quarter of this year. This shows fewer homeowners are failing to meet mortgage repayments, and that the real estate market is gradually improving.

Figures from a RealtyTrac show that between July and September, lenders began foreclosure on 174,366 homes. This is the lowest level since the second quarter of 2006 and is a 13% decline compared to the previous quarter. Foreclosures are down 39% compared to the same quarter last year. The housing market recovery is being driven by increasing home prices and the jobs market is steadily growing. The fact that fewer homes are entering into foreclosure should mean that fewer are eventually lost to this process. It's expected that this drop in figures will continue providing economic conditions continue to improve.

Foreclosure starts fell in 38 states which included Illinois, and Colorado, California and Arizona compared to the same period last year. However figures show that compared to a year earlier, they did increase in 11 states which include New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland and Oregon.

Courtesy of Fotolia

Courtesy of Fotolia

Although fewer homes are entering into the foreclosure process, lenders have increased the rate at which they're repossessing homes. The number of completed foreclosures increased by 7% in the third quarter compared to the second quarter, but completed foreclosures were still down 24% compared to the third quarter last year. All in all, lenders repossessed 119,485 homes between July and September. This means that the US should see roughly half a million completed foreclosures by the end of this year which would be a 24% decrease on 2012. The rate of foreclosures hit a high in 2010 with 1.0 5 million homes repossessed. Thankfully figures have been declining since that moment.

According to RealtyTrac, the number of homes reclaimed by banks between July and September increased in 26 states. These states include Illinois, Virginia, New Jersey and New York. In many of the states where the number of foreclosures increased during the last quarter, the courts oversee the process. Over the past two years these courts have been faced with a huge backlog of foreclosure cases and are still working through them. It's perhaps because of this that it's still taking a long time for some states to complete the foreclosure process. During the first quarter of this year the average repossession took 1.5 years or 551 days. This figure compares to an average of 526 days during the second quarter, and just 382 days during the first quarter in 2012.

Experts looking at these figures have pointed out that it shows the country is still dealing with the effects of the housing collapse.

Allison Halliday is a Realty Biz News contributing writer. She handles International Real Estate and is a seasoned blogger.
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