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REOs Up, Falling Foreclosures to Turn Higher

While foreclosure filings have calmed considerably from a year ago, one forecast calls for a storm on the horizon. Meanwhile, a month-over-month uptick in completed foreclosures was reported.

U.S. mortgage servicers filed foreclosure notices on 214,855 properties in September. Filings include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

RealtyTrac reported the statistics, which are extracted from a database of records from more than 2,200 U.S. counties.

Last month’s activity declined from 228,098 properties that faced a filing in August.

Foreclosures have slowed considerably since September 2010 when the number was 347,420.

But RealtyTrac Chief Executive Officer James Saccacio predicts that foreclosure filings will slowly start to “ramp back up.”

“U.S. foreclosure activity has been mired down since October of last year, when the robo-signing controversy sparked a flurry of investigations into lender foreclosure procedures and paperwork,” Saccacio said in the report. “While foreclosure activity in September and the third quarter continued to register well below levels from a year ago, there is evidence that this temporary downward trend is about to change direction.”

A total of 1,826,119 filings have been reported this year.

Nearly a quarter of all U.S. foreclosures — 51,842 — were on California properties last month. The Golden State, however, cut its volume from 59,383 in August.

Florida maintained its No. 2 standing with 24,077 filings. Michigan’s 14,115 followed, then Georgia’s 11,552 and Illinois’ 11,419.

Just 17 properties in Vermont were hit with a foreclosure filing in September, the fewest of all states.

One out of every 605 housing units in the country faced a foreclosure, a better rate than one-in-570 a month earlier and a huge improvement from one-in-371 a year earlier.

Nevada continued to struggle with its foreclosure mess; the state saw on filing for each 118 homes — the same rate as August.

California followed with a one-in-259 rate, then Arizona’s one-in-305 level, Michigan’s one in 322 and Georgia’s one-in-352 standing.

With just one foreclosure filed for each 18,485 housing units, Vermont had the lowest rate.

September saw 65,047 foreclosures completed, more than the 64,813 real-estate-owned filings made the previous month. But REO volume slid from the same month last year, when there were 102,134 REO filings.

So far this year, U.S. REO filings amount to 885,081.

From the initial filing to the completion of a foreclosure, the U.S. timeline during the third quarter was 336 days, higher than 318 days during the second quarter and “and the highest number of days going back to the first quarter of 2007.”

Hurting the U.S. average was New York, where foreclosures took 986 days to complete. But the national number was bolstered by Texas, where the timeline was just 86 days — the shortest of any state.

The biggest REO state, California, had 10,811 repossessions in September, falling from the prior month’s 11,718.

Georgia was No. 2 with 5,560 completed foreclosures. Next were 5,407 REOs in Florida, 4,034 in Texas and 3,993 in Michigan.

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