Foreclosure activity nationwide fell 15 percent in the first quarter to its lowest point since 2008, according to foreclosure data firm RealtyTrac.
The company said filings were off 27 percent from one year earlier as paperwork issues continued to put the brakes on many potential foreclosures.
Foreclosures were actually up seven percent in March compared to one month earlier, but down 35 percent from March 2010, which was the worst month since RealtyTrac began reporting the numbers back in 2005.
Default notices, which represent the first step in the foreclosure process, along with foreclosure auctions and lender repossessions, were all much lower than the previous quarter and the first quarter of 2010.
But in states where the non-judicial foreclosure process is primarily used, bank repos increased nine percent from the previous quarter.
And last month, lender repossessions increased on a monthly basis in both non-judicial and judicial foreclosure states.
Expect the numbers to keep on rising once all the robosigning business is behind us, as it appears those being spared foreclosure, at least temporarily, were only granted a little extra time before the inevitable happens.
Last week, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which reviewed the foreclosure processes of a handful of the largest loan servicers in the country, concluded that most who received foreclosed papers were severely delinquent.
RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio noted in the release that the housing outlook remains bleak, with “the dual threat of a looming shadow inventory of distressed properties and the probability that foreclosure activity will begin to increase again” once mortgage lenders work through the foreclosure backlog.