(Repeating for additional subscribers)
By Lynn Adler
NEW YORK Nov 12 U.S. home foreclosure filings
slowed in October for a third straight month, but rising
unemployment will spur another record year of failing mortgages
in 2010, real estate data company RealtyTrac said on Thursday.
Foreclosure filings -- including notices of default,
auction and bank repossession -- dipped 3 percent in October
from the prior month but were up 19 percent from a year
Although foreclosure filings are off the record high hit in
July and there are intensifying federal efforts to press
lenders to alter terms for struggling borrowers, the chief
problem lies with unemployment that is at a 26-1/2-year.
RealtyTrac estimates as many as a record 3.4 million
households will get a foreclosure notice this year, a 48
percent spike from 2.3 million last year.
And RealtyTrac sees yet another record high in 2010, with
only marginal improvement in 2011.
"Unless we have an almost miraculous recovery in housing
and employment, there's really no way to get through this
pipeline any earlier than that," Rick Sharga, senior vice
president at Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac, said in an
"More and more of the homes in foreclosure right now are
there because of unemployment," Sharga said. "The scale of the
problem is so huge that it's hard to make a dent."
With filings reported on 332,292 properties last month, one
in every 385 households with loans got a foreclosure notice.
Lenders cannot keep pace with the number of failing U.S.
home loans even though an increasing share of eligible
borrowers have entered trial mortgage workouts.
The Treasury Department on Monday said about 20 percent of
eligible homeowners, almost 651,000 through October, were in
trial modifications under President Barack Obama's Home
Affordable Mortgage Program. That is up from 16 percent the
It remains to be seen how many of these trials will be
become permanently modified and how many of the modifications
will ultimately be successful.
"It's hard to describe the housing market as stable or
being in good shape when over 3 million families are receiving
foreclosure notices this year," said Nicolas Retsinas, director
of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies in
Various local and federal loan fixes may just be dragging
out the foreclosure crisis.
A Nevada law, for example, that requires mandatory
foreclosure mediation resulted in a 26 percent drop in
foreclosure actions started in October, Sharga noted. "That
doesn't mean they won't ultimately go into foreclosure, but
they were delayed."
Despite the month's drop, Nevada still had the highest
foreclosure rate, with one in every 80 households with loans
getting a filing in October.
California stayed in second place and Florida held the
Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Michigan and
Utah were the other states with the 10 highest foreclosure
California, Florida, Illinois and Michigan accounted for 52
percent of the total foreclosure activity in October.
The top 10 metro area foreclosure rates were all in Nevada,
California and Florida, but new problem areas have emerged as
joblessness grows. To read more on regional foreclosures, see
(Editing by Leslie Adler)