- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Some states see spike in foreclosures
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Foreclosure activity surged last month across about half of the nation’s states, as banks tackled a backlog of homes with mortgages that had gone unpaid yet remained in limbo because of delays stemming from foreclosure-abuse claims.
The increase occurred across 26 states where the courts supervise the foreclosure process. In contrast, the 24 states where the courts do not play a role in the process saw activity decline in February, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.
While uneven, the pace of foreclosures is accelerating following a $25 billion settlement reached last month between the nation’s biggest mortgage lenders and state officials. The settlement was over the industry’s alleged foreclosure abuses.
Major banks temporarily put foreclosures on hold in the fall of 2010 after claims surfaced that lenders and mortgage servicers were processing foreclosures without verifying documents. As a result, many homes that normally would have ended up in foreclosure were left in a procedural limbo, particularly in states where courts play a role in the process.
But that logjam has begun to ease, and banks are moving to sort out their roster of problem mortgages.
“We’re not just seeing an increase in properties starting the foreclosure process, as we have in previous months, but we’re starting to see dramatic increases in properties completing the foreclosure process in many of those judicial foreclosure states,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac.
That means potentially more foreclosed homes hitting the market this year that could drag down the value of neighboring homes.
Among states with a judicial foreclosure process, foreclosure activity rose 2 percent last month from January, and it climbed 24 percent from February last year, the firm said.
Foreclosure activity across states without a court-supervised process fell 5 percent in February from the previous month and declined 23 percent from a year earlier.
RealtyTrac bases foreclosure activity on filings that signal when a home is in some stage of the foreclosure process: an initial default notice, a scheduled home auction or a home repossession, which is when a property goes back to the lender.
Overall, U.S. foreclosure activity dipped 2 percent from January and was down 8 percent from February last year.
Taken individually, some states registered far higher increases in foreclosure activity last month.
Default notices, the first step in the foreclosure process, edged up 1 percent nationally last month from January, but fell 7 percent on an annual basis. But several states posted big annual increases, including Hawaii (321 percent), Maryland (157 percent) and Florida (33 percent) — all three states where courts play a role in foreclosures.
Initial default notices fell sharply in several states, including Nevada (89 percent) and Michigan (72 percent). New York bucked the trend of other judicial states, posting an annual drop of 44 percent in default notices last month.
Banks repossessed 63,834 U.S. homes last month, down 4 percent from January and down 1 percent from February last year, RealtyTrac said.
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
- EDITORIAL: Republicans finally fight back in phony 'war on women'
- EDITORIAL: More Lerner smoking-gun emails at IRS
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Critics rail against liberal bias for commencement speakers
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.