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Record F/C Rate, But REOs & CA Improve

342,038 April foreclosure filings

May 12, 2009

By staff

The rate of foreclosures reached the highest on record last month as filings increased. But activity in California, as well as U.S. repossessions, improved from the previous month.

The number of U.S. properties with foreclosure filings edged up to 342,038 in April from 341,180 during March, RealtyTrac reported today. In April of last year, a revised 258,627 foreclosures were reported.

Filings included default notices, auction sale notices and real estate owned filings.

So far this year, 1,145,527 U.S. foreclosures have been filed.

In written congressional testimony by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last month, he said as many as 6 million U.S. foreclosures are expected over the next several years.

"Foreclosures have massive negative externalities -- such as reducing surrounding home values, and increasing vacancies, homelessness, and violent crime," Geithner stated. "In some studies, foreclosure on a home has been found to reduce the prices of nearby homes by as much as 9 percent."

The state with the most filings, California, saw activity drop to 96,560 from March's 107,785. A report last month from Default Research suggested a 10.1 percent unemployment rate in the Golden State will continue to drive foreclosure activity through this year.

With 64,588 Florida properties facing foreclosure filings, that state was No. 2. Nevada was next, with 16,266 foreclosures; then Arizona, at 16,245; and Illinois, where 13,647 properties saw filings.

Just two properties saw foreclosure filings in Vermont -- the lowest of any state.

A report last month from PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. -- which factored in, among other things, foreclosure activity -- said the Miami market faced the highest risk of deterioration, followed by Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., and Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield, Fla.

The U.S. foreclosure rate was one filing for every 374 households last month, "the highest monthly foreclosure rate ever posted since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005." A year earlier, the rate was a revised one filing for every 488 households.

The rate was most severe in Nevada -- where one-in-68 households faced a filing last month. No. 2 Florida worsened to one filing for each 135 households, then California, which had a foreclosure filed for every 138 households. No. 4 was Arizona, with a one-in-164 rate, then Idaho, which had a filing for every 255 households.

Vermont also held the lowest foreclosure rate, at just one filing for each 155,717 households.

April's U.S. REO filings fell to 63,903 from the previous month's 71,751 and a revised 69,848 a year earlier. Through April 30, 254,446 REOs have been filed.

With 13,210 REO filings, California led the country in repossessions last month, followed by Florida, which had 6,114 REOs. In Texas, where 4,149 REOs were filed, a recent Dallas Morning News report indicated that Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank and U.S. Bancorp foreclosed on more properties in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area than any other lenders last year.

Georgia was the fourth worst state for REOs, with 3,712 filings, and No. 5 was Arizona, which had 3,646 REOs.

Vermont, with just two REOs, also had the best record of any state.

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