U.S. foreclosure actions fall in June

The number of U.S. foreclosure actions by banks fell in June as investigations into repossession and mortgage servicing practices continued to slow the country’s foreclosure machinery, a real estate firm reported.

Banks filed actions against 222,740 U.S. properties in June, a 29% decrease from the same month a year earlier. That marked the ninth consecutive month that foreclosure actions — notices of default, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — fell on a year-over-year basis, according to RealtyTrac of Irvine. June’s tally represented an increase of nearly 4% compared with May.

Analysts attribute the annual declines to major banks slowing their processes as they try to negotiate a settlement with state and federal regulators over their repossession practices.


“The delays are going to push this problem out, I am afraid, now, for a couple years, which is really not good news for the housing market,” said Rick Sharga, a RealtyTrac senior vice president. “If you look at the number of delinquent loans and the current rate of foreclosure activity, you have another three to four years before the backlog gets cleared up.”

The number of homes taken back by banks in June fell 19.5% compared with the same month a year earlier. Those repossessions ticked up 3% from May. A total of 68,851 homes were lost to foreclosure nationally last month.

The U.S. is on pace to record 800,000 to 850,000 home repossessions this year, still a high number for the U.S. but significantly below the 1 million to 1.2 million repossessions projected by RealtyTrac.

On the front end of the process, 30,202 homes in June received notices of default, the first legal step in the repossession process. That tally dropped 20.6% from the same month a year earlier but increased 6.1% from May.

In California, 54,087 properties received foreclosure filings last month, a 21.7% decline from the same month a year earlier, though a 4.2% increase from May.

California registered the nation’s third-highest state foreclosure rate, with 1.96% of its housing units, or 1 in 51, receiving a foreclosure filing from January to June.