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RealtyTrac: Foreclosure Filings Hit 49-month Low In December, Drop 34% In 2011

RealtyTrac: Foreclosure Filings Hit 49-month Low In December, Drop 34% In 2011
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1/12/2012 1:09 AM ET

RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties, Thursday said foreclosure filings in December 2011 declined year-over-year as well as sequentially, touching a 49-month low. Foreclosure filings in 2011 dropped 34 percent from last year, amid a delay mode. RealtyTrac sees foreclosure activity picking up momentum in 2012, as lenders push through some of the delayed foreclosures.

Releasing its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for December and full year, the market researcher said foreclosure filings - comprising default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions - were reported on 205,024 U.S. properties in December, a decline of 20 percent from December 2010 and down 9 percent from the previous month. December's total was the lowest monthly total since November 2007.

December Default notices decreased 19 percent from the previous month and dropped 23 percent from last year. Scheduled foreclosure auctions decreased 12 percent sequentially, while dropping 24 percent from December 2010.

Bank repossessions, however, increased 10 percent from the previous month, but declined 12 percent from December 2010.

In the fourth quarter, foreclosure filings dropped 4 percent from the previous quarter and declined 27 percent from last year.

The year-end data showed that 2,698,967 foreclosure filings were reported on 1,887,777 U.S. properties in 2011, a decrease of 34 percent in total properties from 2010. Nevada, Arizona and California posted top state foreclosure rates for year.

Foreclosure activity in 2011 dropped 33 percent from 2009 and 19 percent from 2008. One in 69 housing units had at least one foreclosure filing during the year. Total U.S. foreclosure activity and the U.S. foreclosure rate in 2011 were at their lowest annual level since 2007.

One in 16 of housing units in Nevada had at least one foreclosure filing in 2011, giving it the nation's highest state foreclosure rate for the fifth consecutive year. Arizona came second with one in 24 households getting a notice, while California stood third with one in 31 housing units having at least one foreclosure filing during the year.

RealtyTrac noted that on an average, U.S. properties foreclosed in the fourth quarter took 348 days to complete the foreclosure process, up from 336 days in the third quarter and 305 days in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said, "Foreclosures were in full delay mode in 2011, resulting in a dramatic drop in foreclosure activity for the year... There were strong signs in the second half of 2011 that lenders are finally beginning to push through some of the delayed foreclosures in select local markets. We expect that trend to continue this year, boosting foreclosure activity for 2012 higher than it was in 2011, though still below the peak of 2010."

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by RTT Staff Writer

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