Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011
The number of properties in the U.S. that received foreclosure filings grew 1% in January from December, but was down 17% from a year earlier, according to market researcher RealtyTrac.
RealtyTrac said 261,333 properties got a filing in January, meaning one in every 497 housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month.
Still, Chief Executive James J. Saccacio said it was the third consecutive month that fewer than 300,000 properties received a foreclosure filing, following 20 straight months in which the total exceeded that figure.
"Unfortunately this is less a sign of a robust housing recovery and more a sign that lenders have become bogged down in reviewing procedures, resubmitting paperwork and formulating legal arguments related to accusations of improper foreclosure processing," added Saccacio.
Nevada continued to top the list of states for foreclosures, with one out of every 93 housing units getting a foreclosure filing in January--more than five times the national average. Arizona ranked second, with one in 175 units getting a filing.
A number of unanswered questions remain involving the foreclosure process after reports last year highlighted the banks' use of so-called robo-signers, who effectively rubber stamped documents without checking their accuracy. Banks temporarily halted foreclosures and instituted new processes. Meanwhile, a wave of lawsuits followed.
-By John Kell, Dow Jones Newswires