Foreclosure starts were up 12% from the previous month in October 2015, according to real estate information company RealtyTrac's U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. RealtyTrac says the October increase in foreclosure starts is not a surprise this year since it has also happened the last five Octobers. What is a surprise is how much of a rise there was this October, which was more than twice the average rate of 5%.
The now-common rise in October foreclosures comes in part from the fact that many lenders choose not to foreclose on homeowners from the end of December through the first of January, since it would come off as especially heartless to kick a family out of their home over the holidays. Also, many employees at the banks, as well as judges and public workers, take time off around the holidays at the end of the year. So, they try to start foreclosure before the holidays. Isn't that nice them?
Overall Filings vs Foreclosure Starts
Overall foreclosure filings, which includes default notices and scheduled auctions, were up 6% in October, from September, with 115,134 properties affected. And the foreclosure process was started on 48,605 properties for the first time in October. That 12% increase is the largest monthly increase since August 2011, which saw a whopping 24% month-over-month increase. However, foreclosure starts in October 2015 are down 14% from last year.
Repossessions Continue To Rise
Properties that were repossessed by the bank because they failed to sell, called Real Estate Owned (REO), numbered 36,582 in October 2015, which is actually a 9% drop from September, but a 31% rise from October 2014. REOs reached a monthly peak at a staggering 102,134 in September 2010. There have been 369,920 completed foreclosures in the first 10 months of 2015, which is 33% more than in the same time period in 2014.
Some States Worse Than Others
Of course, not all states are equally affected. Some states that experienced a month-over-month October increase in foreclosure starts greater than the national average are Florida (up 13%), New Jersey (up 15%), and Illinois (up 20%).
Some states with notable October 2015 year-over-year REO increases are New York (up 320%), New Jersey (up 275%), and Illinois (up 62%). Florida had the most completed foreclosure sales in October 2015 with 5,760. Illinois had 2,624, and New Jersey had 1,960.
Scheduled For Foreclosure Auction Sale
Scheduled foreclosure auctions for the month were up 47% in New York and 17% in New Jersey. Nationwide, 46,698 properties were scheduled to be sold at foreclosure auction, which is up from the previous month but down from the same period last year.
In New Jersey, one in every 471 homes received a foreclosure filing, as did one in every 579 in Florida.
Atlantic City, New Jersey remains in the number one spot for highest foreclosure rates for a metropolitan area, with one in 257 homes having a foreclosure filing in October. Trenton is third highest among the nation's metropolitan areas with one in 390 homes having a foreclosure filing.
The Jacksonville and Miami, Florida metropolitan areas rank number six and seven worst in the nation, with one in 465 and 480 homes, respectively, having a foreclosure filing. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville and Tampa, Florida are numbers nine and ten, with one in 514 and 543, respectively.
Are Things Getting Worse or Better?
Nationally, foreclosures have been declining, and home prices have been rising. But, as the RealtyTrac report shows, foreclosure rates differ drastically by state and locality. Whatever the trends for the nation, individual states, or cities, what really matters is what is happening to you. As ever when dealing with real estate, it's all about location, location, location. You may live in a state and town with fewer foreclosure starts than average and rapidly rising home prices. But if you're $100,000 underwater on your mortgage and are having a hard time making your monthly payments, the market trends aren't really helping your situation. Each household is an economy of one, and has to make decisions accordingly.
Some of the hardest hit states also happen to be states that require judicial foreclosure, and that's good news for distressed homeowners. Foreclosure takes longer in judicial foreclosure states, so homeowners have more time to fight it there. You can use that time to your advantage by retaining an experienced law firm to represent you.
Someone who's well-versed in helping defend against foreclosure and applying for loan modifications knows what works and what doesn't. Remember, a foreclosure start on your property doesn't mean it will ever be completed. Foreclosure has serious implications for a family's finances and life, so it's important to treat it appropriately. Most reputable law firms offer a free consultation, and their services are well worth the cost.
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