WASHINGTON (July 10) - The number of homeowners stung by the rout in
the U.S. housing market jumped last month as foreclosure filings
grew by more than 50 percent compared with June a year ago,
according to data released Thursday.
Nationwide, 252,363 homes received at least one
foreclosure-related notice in June, up 53 percent from the same
month last year, but down 3 percent from May, RealtyTrac Inc. said.
One in every 501 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing last
Foreclosure filings increased from a year earlier in all but 11
states. Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida and Michigan continued
to have the highest foreclosure rates.
Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac monitors default notices,
auction sale notices and bank repossessions. More than 71,000
properties were repossessed by lenders nationwide in June, the
While foreclosures continue to rise nationwide, efforts in some
states to give borrowers more time before losing their homes appear
to be working.
In Maryland, where a new law has increased the time to finalize
a foreclosure to 150 days from just 15, foreclosure filings dropped
by almost 18 percent from last year's levels. In Massachusetts,
which last year passed a similar law, filings dropped almost 3
Still, the combination of weak housing sales, falling home
values, tighter mortgage lending criteria and a slowing U.S.
economy has left financially strapped homeowners with few options
to avoid foreclosure. Many can't find buyers or owe more than their
home is worth and can't refinance into an affordable loan.
Economists project 2.5 million homes nationwide will enter the
foreclosure process this year, up from about 1.5 million in 2007.
Analysts say the mortgage industry's effort to assist troubled
borrowers is being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the foreclosure
crisis, and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said earlier this week
that many foreclosures are "not preventable," citing borrowers
who "took out mortgages they can't possibly afford and they will
lose their homes."
Lawmakers and government officials have been struggling to come
up with a response to soften the blow for the U.S. economy.
Congress is working on legislation that would permit the Federal
Housing Administration to provide new, cheaper mortgages to
distressed homeowners who otherwise would have difficulty
refinancing into more secure government-insured loans. Lenders
would have to be willing to take a substantial loss by reducing the
amount owed on the loan.
The Bush administration announced Tuesday that it would be ready
on Monday to implement an FHA expansion that lets borrowers who've
fallen behind on their home payments - because of mortgage rate
resets or other economic hardships - get more affordable loans.
In the RealtyTrac report, metropolitan areas in California and
Florida accounted for nine of the top 10 areas with the highest
rate of foreclosure for the third-straight month. That list was led
by three California cities: Stockton, Merced and Modesto. The Cape
Coral-Fort Myers area in Florida was fourth.
In Nevada, one in every 122 households received a
foreclosure-related notice last month, more than four times the
In today's market, about 50 to 60 percent of borrowers
nationally who receive foreclosure filings are now likely to lose
their homes, said Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac's vice president of
marketing, compared with a typical rate of about 40 percent.
"For more and more homeowners who are getting into
foreclosure," Sharga said, "there is a much higher likelihood
that they are ultimately going to lose the properties to the
On the Net:
RealtyTrac Inc.: http://www.realtytrac.com