By Nathalie Tadena
U.S. foreclosure inventory jumped 9% in the first quarter from a year earlier, led by an increase in pre-foreclosure properties, according to market researcher RealtyTrac.
The total number of U.S. properties actively involved in the foreclosure precess and bank-owned properties totaled about 1.5 million properties in the first quarter, according to RealtyTrac’s first-ever U.S. foreclosure inventory analysis. However, the tally is 32% below the peak of 2.2 million in December 2010.
“Delinquent loans that fell into a deep sleep after the robo-signing controversy in late 2010 are gradually coming out of hibernation following the finalization of the national mortgage settlement in April 2012,” said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac vice president. “The settlement provided some closure regarding accepted foreclosure processing practices, and as a result lenders have been reviving more of these delinquent loans and pushing them into foreclosure over the past 12 months, particularly in states where a lengthy court process has resulted in a bigger backlog of non-performing loans still in snooze mode.”
The report also found that the increase in foreclosure inventory was led by a 59% jump in pre-foreclosure inventory, while inventory of homes scheduled for foreclosure auction slipped 25% and inventory of bank-owned homes decreased 3%.
Among properties actively involved in the foreclosure process, excluding bank-owned properties, 35% were properties identified as vacant or where the homeowner had moved.
RealtyTrac also said the inventory of listed foreclosures slipped 43% in the latest quarter from a year earlier, while inventory of unlisted foreclosures rose 12%.
Government-backed entities Fannie Mae (FNMA), Freddie Mac (FMCC) and the Federal Housing Administration/U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development represented the largest portion of foreclosure inventory, with a combined 12% of the national total. It was followed by Bank of America Corp. (BAC) with 11% and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) with 10%.