Banks repossess homes at record pace: RealtyTrac

NEW YORK Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:59am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Banks repossessed a record number of U.S. homes in the second quarter, but slowed new foreclosure notices to manage distressed properties on the market, real estate data company RealtyTrac said on Thursday.

The root problems of job losses and wage cuts persist, making a sustained U.S. housing recovery elusive.

Banks took control of 269,962 properties in the second quarter, up 5 percent from the prior quarter and a 38 percent spike from the second quarter of last year, RealtyTrac said in its midyear 2010 foreclosure report.

Repossessions will likely top 1 million this year.

"The underlying conditions haven't improved," RealtyTrac senior vice president Rick Sharga said in an interview.

The housing market still grapples with "unemployment, economic displacement in general, and still sits on over 5 million seriously delinquent loans that in all likelihood will at some point go into foreclosure," he said.

In 2005, the last "normal" year in housing, Sharga said, about 530,000 households got a foreclosure notice and banks took over a comparatively minuscule 100,000 houses.

This year more than 3 million households are likely to get at least one foreclosure filing, which includes notice of default, scheduled auction and repossession, Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac forecasts.

In the first half of the year, foreclosure filings were made on 1.65 million properties. That was down 5 percent from the last half of 2009 but up 8 percent from the first half of last year.

One in every 78 households got at least one foreclosure filing in the first six months of this year.