Busy with Foreclosure Activity
May turned out to be a busy month for foreclosure activity. Foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions, were up 9 % in May from the previous month of April, but still down 4 % from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for May 2012.
Foreclosure filings were reported on 205,990 properties in May after two consecutive months below 200,000, but activity levels were still down on a yearly basis for 20 consecutive months now. In April, foreclosure filings totaled 188,780.
After three straight monthly decreases to a 49-month low in April, bank repossessions (REOs) climbed 7 % month-over-month, but were still down 18 % from May 2011. In May, lenders completed the foreclosure process on 54,844 properties.
Foreclosure starts – default notices or scheduled foreclosure auctions, depending on the state – were filed on 109,051 properties in May, a 12 percent monthly increase and a 16 % jump from a year ago. The annual increase was a first after 27 consecutive months of yearly declines.
Based on the rise in pre-foreclosure sales seen so far this year, a higher percentage of these new foreclosure starts will likely end up as short sales or auction sales to third parties rather than bank repossessions going forward. While pre-foreclosure sales have less of a negative impact on home values than bank-owned sales, they still represent a discounted sale where a distressed homeowner is losing his or her home.