Foreclosure filings hit their lowest level in more than four years in the first quarter, according to a report from foreclosure data aggregator RealtyTrac.
Default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions were filed on 572,928 properties in the first quarter, or 1 in every 230 U.S. housing units -- the lowest number of filings since fourth-quarter 2007, when 527,740 properties received filings.
Last quarter's foreclosure activity was down 2% from the 4th quarter and 16% from 1st quarter 2011.
On an annual basis, foreclosure activity fell 17% in March.
"The low foreclosure numbers in the 1st quarter are not an indication that the massive reservoir of distressed properties built up over the past few years has somehow miraculously evaporated," said Brandon Moore, RealtyTrac's CEO, in a statement.
"There are hairline cracks in the dam, evident in the sizable foreclosure activity increases in judicial foreclosure states over the past several months, along with an increase in foreclosure starts in many judicial and nonjudicial states in March.
"The dam may not burst in the next 30 to 45 days, but it will eventually burst, and everyone downstream should be prepared for that to happen -- both in terms of new foreclosure activity and new short-sale activity."
In my opinion: While we have seen a decrease in foreclosure and an increase in market activity, I must agree that we will likely see another wave of foreclosures and short sales hitting the market sometime later this year. This is in part to the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement Act that recently was enacted to speed up the foreclosure process.
While the wave of foreclosure and short sales is nearly inevitable and will have a negative immediate impact on the market and prices, it will still provide home buyers with a great opporunity BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY it will clear the majority of the backlog of foreclosures...this will help elivatiate the tough real estate market and hopefully push us in a positive direction for the start 2014 or 2015 markets.
Sean S. Williams
Licensed Broker, Realtor®, ABR®, e-Pro®
1st Time Buyer & Relocation Specialist
of Louisville, Kentucky
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