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Foreclosures Might Have Peaked

Good news from RealtyTrac this morning, as it reports that foreclosure filings — default notices, auctions and reposessions — fell 9 percent from March to April, evidence that the foreclosure crisis might have peaked last month.

In the good column: The number of homes receiving default notices fell 12 percent and the number of foreclosure auctions fell 13 percent. In the bad: Bank repossessions hit an all-time high, with banks taking over 92,432 homes last month alone, an increase of 45 percent year-on-year.

“There were two important milestones in the April numbers that show foreclosure activity has begun to plateau — but at a very high level that will not drop off in the near future,” RealtyTrac’s chief executive officer, James Saccacio, said in a release. “April was the first month in the history of our report with an annual decrease in U.S. foreclosure activity. Secondly, bank repossessions, or REOs, hit a record monthly high for the report even while default notices dropped substantially on a monthly and annual basis. We expect a similar pattern to continue for most of this year, with the overall numbers staying at a high level and ripples of activity hitting the various stages of the foreclosure process as lenders systematically work through the backlog of distressed properties.”

The “sand states” — Nevada, Arizona, Florida and California — continued to bear the worst of the foreclosure crisis. And the report noted that strategic defaults are rising, and could bump the foreclosure number up again in the coming months.

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