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Foreclosures Drop 3% in May as Lenders Tackle Backlog: RealtyTrac

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Foreclosure filings were down for the second straight month, but bank repossessions reached a new monthly record, according to online foreclosure marketplace, RealtyTrac. There were 322,920 properties that received a foreclosure filing in May, down 3% from 333,837 in April. But it remains 1% above levels seen in May 2009. Across the country, one in every 400 houses received a foreclosure filing, which includes default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions. RealtyTrac SVP Rick Sharga said during a session at REO Expo that there could be as many as 3.8m properties that receive a foreclosure in 2010. James Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac, added lenders are not making as many new filings and are instead focusing on the backlog of distressed properties built up over the past 20 months, a continued trend from April. Defaults and scheduled auctions increased 28% from 2007 to 2008 and continued to grow, rising another 32% from 2008 to 2009. “Lenders appear to be ramping up the pace of completing those forestalled foreclosures even while the inflow of delinquencies into the foreclosure process has slowed,” Saccacio said. Lenders repossessed 93,777 properties in May, a new record for the second month in a row. It’s a 1% increase from April and 44% more than last year. These REO properties increased in all 50 states in May. There were 96,462 default notices in May, a 7% drop from April. It’s the fewest amount of notices of default filed in one month since November 2008 and a 32% drop from the 142,064 peak in April 2009. Nevada held the nation’s highest foreclosure rate. There, one in every 79 housing units received a filing in May, almost a 12% drop from April and 16% below levels seen in May 2009. Despite the drops, Nevada's foreclosure rate is more than five times the national average. Arizona held the second highest foreclosure rate in the country for the second month in a row. There, one in every 169 properties received a filing in May. Florida -- one in every 174 properties received a foreclosure fling. The state had the third highest rate in May. Write to Jon Prior.

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