Foreclosure activity dropped 10% from December to January although it’s still up 18% from January 2008. New numbers from RealtyTrac show that foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 274,399 U.S. properties during the month. The report also shows one in every 466 U.S. homes received a foreclosure filing in January.
“The extensive foreclosure efforts on the part of lenders and government agencies appear to have impacted the January numbers — particularly the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac moratorium on all foreclosure sales that was extended through the end of January along with Florida’s voluntary 45-day freeze on all new foreclosure actions and scheduling of foreclosure sales that was announced at the beginning of December,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “January REOs, which represent completed foreclosure sales to the foreclosing lender, were down 15% nationwide from the previous month.”
The big winner, or non-loser, was Florida where overall foreclosure activity was down 20% from December.
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.