New data from RealtyTrac
shows foreclosure filings edged up by 4% from February to March, but were down 23% from March 2013. The company's U.S. Foreclosure Market Report also revealed a significant decline in lender repossessions. Lenders repossessed 28,840 U.S. properties in March, down 5% from February and down 34% from March 2013. The decline put repossessions at their lowest level since July 2007.
March markeed the 42nd consecutive month of declining foreclosure activity on a year-over-year basis.
“Now that the foreclosure deluge has dried up, banks are turning their attention back to poperties that have been sitting in foreclosure limbo for some time,” Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac vice president, said. “This is most evident in judicial foreclosure states that were more likely to have impediments in the foreclosure process, but there are also signs of this catch-up trend happening in some non-judicial states like California, where an increasing number of judicial foreclosure filings boosted foreclosure starts in the first quarter.
Blomquisst said banks would also be able to devote more resources to the inventory of already-foreclosed homes, numbering nearly half a million.
“Our estimates indicate only 10 percent of these bank-owned properties are listed for sale and more than half are still occupied by the former homeowner or tenant.”
Bank repossessions have fallen to their lowest level in nearly seven years.