The total 2007 U.S. foreclosure tally is quickly nearing one million and could exceed two million by the end of the year, RealtyTrac said this morning. The Irvine, Calif.-based Web site counted 925,986 foreclosure filings in the first half of 2007, up 55% from the first half of 2006. That’s a chillingly-high rate of one filing per 134 households.
“Despite a slight drop in June, foreclosure activity shows no sign of slowing down,” said RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio in a statement. “Based on the rate of foreclosure activity in the first half of 2007, we could easily surpass 2 million foreclosure filings by the end of the year, which would represent a year-over-year increase of over 65 percent.”
Unsurprisingly, Nevada posted the nation’s highest foreclosure rate in the first half of ’07, with one filing for every 40 households—more than triple the amount of filings reported in the same time period last year. Colorado, California, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Arizona, Connecticut and Indiana rounded out the rest of the top 10 states with the highest foreclosure rates so far in 2007.
RealtyTrac has been accused of inflating its foreclosure estimates since it includes default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions— allowing the same property to register multiple times as it goes through the different stages of the foreclosure process.
But the firm’s midyear report includes a new “unique property” count marking the total number of addresses with some type of foreclosure action filed against them in the first six months of the year. This number—573,397— is 58% higher than the unique property count for the first half of 2006.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.