Thank California For The Decline In National Foreclosures

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Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights that became a law at the start of the year has helped bring down the national foreclosure rate, according to RealtyTrac’s latest foreclosure report.Foreclosure filings on U.S. properties were down 7 per cent month-over-month, and 28 per cent on the year. 

“The U.S. foreclosure landscape in January was profoundly altered by the effects of new legislation that took effect in California on the first of the year,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac in a press release. 

“Dubbed the Homeowners Bill of Rights, this legislation extends many of the principles in the national mortgage settlement — including a prohibition on so-called dual tracking and requiring a single point of contact for borrowers facing foreclosure — to all mortgage servicers operating in California. …As a result, the downward foreclosure trend in California accelerated into hyper speed in January, decisively shifting the balance of power when it comes to the nation’s foreclosure activity.”

Here are some details from the report:

  • One in every 869 properties across the country received a foreclosure filing in January.
  • U.S. foreclosure starts were down 11 per cent from December, and down 28 per cent from a year ago, falling to a 79-month low. This was impacted in large part by a decrease in California’s notices of default (NOD) in January that were down 62 per cent from December.
  • U.S. bank repossessions (REO) were at their lowest level since February 2008.
  • “Scheduled foreclosure auctions increased from the previous month in 26 states and the District of Columbia.”
  • “Some of the biggest year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts came in non-judicial foreclosure states where legislation or court rulings stalled foreclosure actions last year: Arkansas (539 per cent increase), Washington (179 per cent increase), and Nevada (87 per cent increase).”
  • With one in every 300 homes in Florida receiving a foreclosure filing in January, it had the highest foreclosure rate for the fifth straight month. The rate was twice the national average. Florida also had the highest number of properties with foreclosure filings for the month. 

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