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Foreclosure Filings Fall in 2015, But REOs Rise

Although the number of mortgage borrowers who were hit with a foreclosure filing last year was lower, more foreclosures were completed.

Residential loan servicers started the foreclosure process on 569,835 U.S. properties during the 12 months that ended on Dec. 31, 2015.

The number of residences that faced a new foreclosure filing
were reduced from full-year 2014 activity, which was previously reported at 643,193.

RealtyTrac released the latest data Thursday.

Total foreclosure filings were made on 1,083,572 properties last year — the fewest since 2006, when there were 717,522.

Filings are reported from three phases of foreclosure including notices of default and lis pendens, notices of trustee sale and foreclosure sale, and real-estate-owned filings.

RealtyTrac previously reported that 1,117,426 U.S. homes were hit with a foreclosure filing during all of 2014.

U.S. foreclosure filings peaked in 2010 at
2,871,891 properties.

Florida had 159,773 properties with a foreclosure filing last year, more than any other state. California was next with 92,671, then New Jersey’s 67,919, Illinois’ 66,740 and New York’s 58,866.

 


There were only 146 properties with a foreclosure filing in North Dakota last year, the fewest of any state.

For just December 2015,
foreclosures were filed on 103,373 U.S. properties.

One foreclosure was filed on
every 122 U.S. housing units during calendar-year 2015, or 0.82 percent. The rate improved over one-in-118 a year earlier.

“Local economic problems became a larger driver of foreclosure activity in 2015,” RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in the report. “Examples of this are Atlantic City, New Jersey, which posted the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate for the year, along with several heavy oil-producing markets in Texas and Oklahoma, where foreclosure activity increased in 2015, counter to the national trend.”

During just December, a foreclosure was filed on
each 1,277 U.S. housing units.
The national foreclosure rate was slightly improved over November, when it was one-in-1,268.

Mortgage servicers completed 449,900 U.S. foreclosures during all of 2015, worsening from 327,069 previously reported for all of 2014 as servicers moved some of their inventory through the foreclosure process.

The increase followed four years of declines.

“In 2015 we saw a return to normal, healthy foreclosure activity in many markets even as banks continued to clean up some of the last vestiges of distress left over from the last housing crisis,” Blomquist explained. “The increase in bank repossessions that we saw for the year was evidence of this cleanup phase, which largely involves completing foreclosure on highly distressed, low value properties.”

Completed foreclosures peaked in 2010 at
1,050,545.

For only December, repossessions
totaled 39,651.

REO filings amounted to 82,468 last year in just Florida, more than any state.

A distant second was California, where 33,529 foreclosures were completed.

After that were 25,599 repossessions in Illinois, 25,156 in Ohio and
24,252 in Texas — which wasn’t among the top-five states the previous year. Georgia was bumped from its No. 4 ranking in 2014.

North Dakota’s 68 REO filings were the fewest of any state.

It took an average of 629 days to complete a U.S. foreclosure as of the fourth-quarter 2015.

The time to process a foreclosure was trimmed by a day compared to the third quarter.

In New Jersey, it took 1,880 days to process a foreclosure — longer than any state. The time frame was 1,128 days in Utah, then 1,106 in Hawaii, 1,079 in New Mexico and 1,025 days in Florida. The only other state to take more than a thousand days to complete a foreclosure was New York: 1,010 days.

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