The Real Deal Miami

U.S. foreclosures plummet to lowest level since 2004 thanks to robo-signing delays

Florida ranks third in the nation with an average foreclosure process time of 806 days
January 12, 2012 01:30PM

National foreclosure filings plummeted in 2011 to their lowest level since 2007, according to a report released today by RealtyTrac. However, the correlation between the data and the aftermath of the robo-signing controversy are clear, as the average U.S. foreclosure now takes 348 days to process, according to the report, and 1,019 days in New York.

About 1.9 million U.S. properties received foreclosure filings for the year, down 34 percent from 2010. One out of 69 housing units, or 1.45 percent had at least one foreclosure filing for the year, down from 2.23 percent in 2010. Each figure marks the lowest recorded since 2007.

RealtyTrac showed Florida had the nation’s seventh highest foreclosure rate in 2011 at one in every 49 properties, or 2.06 percent of homes. The high foreclosure rate is actually a 62.5 percent decline from 2010.

“Foreclosures were in full delay mode in 2011, resulting in a dramatic drop in foreclosure activity for the year,” said RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore.

The 348-day average timeline for foreclosures during the fourth quarter is a 24 percent increase from the third quarter of 2010, when the robo-signing scandal broke. While Texas managed to plow through the foreclosure process at an average of 90 days, New York proved the slowest processor of the filings, averaging 1,019 days per property — a 37 percent increase from the third quarter of 2010.

But Moore said lenders are beginning to push through foreclosures at a faster rate, and he predicted that foreclosure activity would rise in 2012, though not quite to the peak levels witnessed in 2010.

Nevertheless, in December, foreclosures filings were down 9 percent from November and 20 percent from the same period a year ago, while the fourth quarter as a whole produced 4 percent fewer foreclosures than the third quarter of last year, and 27 percent less than the final quarter of 2010. — Adam Fusfeld