Is the Worst Behind Us? Depends on How You Read Numbers, not to be confused with higher-profile competitor, released a report today that said that foreclosure and REO volume nationwide fell off a cliff in April — certainly a good sign that the worst of the housing slump might be behind us.

Foreclosures filings dropped significantly across the country last month. Just under 100,000 pre-foreclosures and notices of pending foreclosure auctions were filed nationwide in April, down 14.3 percent from the almost 115,700 filings in the previous month…Another nearly 40,000 properties were taken back by lenders—known as REO or bank-owned real estate filings—in April, also down 14 percent from March numbers.

My problem with this sort of posturing is that month-to-month comparisons mean nothing, something I recently took the NAR to task for. It’s the yearly comparisons that tell us much more about market trends, and today’s press release says absolutely nothing of year-to-year trends — which in a way makes whatever is said pretty much worthless reading, in my eyes. I went ahead and found the press releases issued from one year ago, in order to try and make sense of the April 2007 numbers. Problem is that one year ago, wasn’t reporting nationwide statistics and only provided some summary numbers for key markets across the US. Further, the company at the time wasn’t breaking out pre-foreclosures from foreclosures from REOs, so it’s impossible to tease out what’s really going on here. I’ll just wait for the RealtyTrac report, which comes out in a few days and usually makes the requisite correct comparisons to year-ago levels, to get a better read. My guess is that foreclosure volume has slowed month-to-month, but is still significantly above year-ago levels.

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