Ready for some good news?
Mortgage defaults, the first step in the foreclosure process, fell for the fourth consecutive month and are now at their lowest point since July 2007, per RealtyTrac.
A total of 75,198 U.S. properties received a default notice last month, a one percent decrease from December and a 27 percent decline from a year earlier.
Late mortgage payments were also down for the 12th straight month on a year-over-year basis.
Additionally, scheduled foreclosure auctions fell to their lowest point since February 2009.
Overall, foreclosure notices, including defaults, auctions, and bank repossessions, were reported on 261,333 U.S. properties in January, a one percent increase from the previous month, but 17 percent lower than a year ago.
Now the bad news:
“We’ve now seen three straight months with fewer than 300,000 properties receiving foreclosure filings, following 20 straight months where the total exceeded 300,000,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, in a press release.
“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.”
Yep, the decline is only a result of faulty paperwork and lingering effects from the robosigning scandal.
Indeed, 2011 is supposed to be the worst year in terms of foreclosure filings and homes lost to foreclosure, so the slower things are now, the worse they’ll be later on in the year.