RealtyTrac: US Home Repossessions Fell In March
By ALEX VEIGA
LOS ANGELES (AP) â¿¿ The number of U.S. homes repossessed by lenders last month fell to the lowest level in more than five years, the latest evidence that the nation's foreclosure crisis is abating amid an improving housing market.
While some states still saw increases in homes taken back by banks, nationally home repossessions fell 3 percent in March from the previous month and were down 21 percent from a year earlier, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.
Thirty-four states posted annual declines in completed foreclosures. Among those bucking that trend: Arkansas, Maryland, Washington and Pennsylvania.All told, lenders repossessed 43,597 homes last month, the lowest level since September 2007. At the current monthly pace, completed foreclosures will total roughly 550,000 this year, down from 671,000 last year, RealtyTrac said. An uptick in homes that entered the foreclosure process last month, however, may end up pushing that total to 600,000, said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac. Several factors are contributing to the decline in completed foreclosures: Steady job growth and ultra-low mortgage rates are helping the once-battered housing market recover, driving demand for homes and prices upward. Higher home values help restore equity to homeowners, which can help those at risk of foreclosure by improving their chances of refinancing their mortgage to a lower payment or place them in a better position to sell their home. Meanwhile, states like California, Nevada and others have passed laws to increase homeowners' protections from foreclosure. Those laws have effectively delayed the pace of homes entering the foreclosure process, which has helped to thin the pipeline of completed foreclosures in those states. Even so, the number of foreclosure starts, or homes that entered the foreclosure process, edged higher for the second month in a row in March. Foreclosure starts rose 2 percent from February to 73,113. That's still down 28 percent from March last year, the firm said.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV