Foreclosure Filings Fall for Third Straight Month

November 12, 2009

The number of homeowners facing foreclosure fell in October for the third time in as many months, but borrowers on the brink remain at dangerously high levels.

Realty Trac inc. reported Thursday that programs aimed at helping distressed borrowers have continued to take hold, dropping imminent foreclosures another three percent in October. But soaring unemployment and high risk mortgages have pushed foreclosures up 19% from one year ago.

"Three consecutive monthly declines is unprecedented for our report, and on first blush an indication that the foreclosure tide may be turning," said Realty Trac Chief Executive James J. Saccacio in a statement. "However, the fundamental forces driving foreclosure activity in this housing downturn - high risk mortgages, negative equity, and unemployment - continue to loom over any nascent recovery."

In all, some 332,292 properties - one in every 385 U.S. homes - received a foreclosure filing in October. Banks repossessed more than 77,000 homes in the month, down about 11,000 from September. A foreclosure filing includes a default notice, scheduled foreclosure action or bank repossession.

As it has for the prior 33 months, Nevada led the nation in foreclosures, despite a 26% decrease from September. A total of 13,842 properties received a foreclosure filing in October equaling about one in 80 homes. The state did post some good news on the foreclosure front as it posted a year over year drop of 4% in foreclosures, the first such drop since Realty Trac began tracking year over year changes in January 2006.

According to Realty Trac, a new mediation program implemented in July may be slowing the speed at which Nevada homes enter foreclosure.

California posted the nation's second largest rate of foreclosure filings with one in every 156 homes receiving a notice in October. A total of 85,420 California properties received a notice in October, down 1% from the previous month but up a whopping 50% from October 2008.

The nation's third highest total of foreclosure filings was posted by Florida, where one in every 168 homes received a filing in October. The 51,911 foreclosure filings for the month represented a nearly 6% drop from September and a 4 % year over year dip.

Among cities, Las Vegas topped the list with one of every 68 homes receiving a foreclosure filing in October - five times the national average.

California cities accounted for seven of the top 10 metropolitan areas with the highest rate of foreclosure filings and Florida accounted for the remaining two.

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