By: Joseph Pisani
US foreclosure activity rose in August from the previous month, and banks and lenders took ownership from homeowners at a record pace, according to a new report released Thursday.
Bank repossessions, often the final step in the foreclosure process after a home fails to sell at auction, increased about 2 percent from the month before to 95,364, a record high. At the same the number of properties that received default notices—the first step in the foreclosure process—decreased 1 percent from a month ago and fell 30 percent from a year ago, a sign that lenders are focusing on their backlog of foreclosure inventory before tackling new distressed loans, according to foreclosure listing website RealtyTrac, which released the report.
Overall, foreclosure fillings rose 4.18 percent in August from the previous month, and were down 5.48 percent from a year ago. In all, 338,836 properties were in the foreclosure process. One in 381 U.S. households received a foreclosure notice in August. (Foreclosure notices are defined as a default notice, auction sale notice or bank repossession.)
“There is a buildup in delinquent loans that are not in foreclosure,” said Rick Sharga, senior vice president of RealtyTrac, adding that banks and lenders are slowing the process to avoid a drop in home prices. “It’s a managed slowdown more than anything else,” he said.
“The underlining conditions haven’t improved,” Sharga added, referring to high unemployment and falling home prices in certain markets.