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Appraiser Blog

July 25, 2011
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Foreclosure drop does not mean improved housing market

RALEIGH -- Banks foreclosed on fewer homes in North Carolina and the nation during the first half of 2011, compared with a year earlier, but that's not a sign of an improving economy or personal finances, experts warn.

Instead, new regulations and paperwork delays are the major reasons behind the drop in foreclosures.

Nationally, banks seized 421,212 homes in the first six months of the year, down 20 percent from 529,633 between January and June of last year, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday. Foreclosures in North Carolina fell about 24 percent.

"Banks have been taking longer to foreclose because of lawsuits, because of new regulations," North Carolina State University economist Mike Walden said. "I don't think we can look at these numbers as a good sign right now for the housing market."

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Lenders are taking longer to move against homeowners behind on their mortgage payments or have simply put off taking action as U.S. home sales slowed this year. Banks are also working through foreclosure documentation problems that first surfaced last fall and created a logjam in some state courts.

Those delays will push more than 1 million foreclosures from this year into 2012, and that could delay a turnaround in the housing market to as late as 2016,

- From WRAL.com

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