Not surprisingly, now that banks have lifted the moratorium on foreclosures, the number of foreclosures jumped dramatically in March. Nationwide, 804,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice in the first quarter, up from about 650,000 in the same time period last year. But I wouldn't jump on the panic button yet. Remember, foreclosure moratoriums started in the second half of 2008 and ramped up in November or December before Christmas, so in a way we're dealing with five months of data not just three.
The Wall Street Journal reports that four of the major players in the mortgage marketplace -- JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac -- just started increasing their foreclosure activity at the end of the quarter. So expect foreclosure numbers to take another significant jump in the second quarter.
While the foreclosure news is bad, billionaire real estate investors Sam Zell and Donald Trump think it's a great time to buy.