Foreclosure Rates Fall in October, Report Says
Foreclosures fell in October -- for the second month in a row -- to nationwide lows not seen since last February, according to data released Monday by ForeclosureS.com, a real estate investing service. Of course, much of the drop is being driven by local legislation, meaning that the recent drop probably won't tell us much about the state of real estate. October pre-foreclosure filings, which include notice of default and/or foreclosure auction, were down 7 percent from September and fell more than 10 percent from August's highs, Foreclosures.com reported. "These latest foreclosure numbers are great news because pre-foreclosures are early signals of what's to come," said Alexis McGee, president of ForeclosureS.com. The number of REO properties nationwide were also on the decline, falling 22 percent from September to 84,286 properties in October, which according to foreclosures.com, is the lowest monthly total since May. McGee at least warned that recent numbers may be skewed due to special programs lenders are using to help homeowners -- which she said may delay, rather than eliminate, foreclosures. But she argued that "gains as measured by drops in foreclosure numbers in the past two months reflect that efforts" to avoid foreclosure -- by all parties -- are "beginning to pay off," she said. McGee's optimism is likely to be proven to be misplaced, if recent events are any indicator of future trends. Underscoring how local legislation tends to only temporarily stall foreclosures, initial foreclosure filings in Massachusetts soared 465 percent between August to September after being much lower than normal in June, July and August. That temporary lull happened after a new law took effect in May requiring lenders to give homeowners a 90-day right to cure notice before initiating foreclosure. But in September, about 90 days after the law took effect, initial foreclosure notices jumped back up close to the levels seen earlier in the year. Most experts that HW speaks with expect the same to happen nationally after a rash of moratoriums and new notice requirements work through the system. Write to Kelly Curran at firstname.lastname@example.org.