Foreclosures Down 10% In January

Foreclosure tracking website RealtyTrac released its January statistics today. It reports foreclosures declined by 10% in January compared to December. That sounds like great news, if it indicates the start of a new trend. It probably doesn't.

RealtyTrac saw 315,716 foreclosure filings on U.S. properties in January. As mentioned, this is 10% fewer than in December, but still 15% more than in January 2009. Not great year-over-year, but the month-over-month decline is reason for optimism, right? Not so fast says RealtyTrac's CEO:

"January foreclosure numbers are exhibiting a pattern very similar to a year ago: a double-digit percentage jump in December foreclosure activity followed by a 10 percent drop in January," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac "If history repeats itself we will see a surge in the numbers over the next few months as lenders foreclose on delinquent loans where neither the existing loan modification programs or the new short sale and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure alternatives works."

So this probably isn't the beginning of a trend, but more a seasonal variance. I suppose there's a hope that history won't repeat itself, but since I haven't seen any other indicators that the housing market has made a sudden turn for the better, I suspect Saccacio is right.

Here are a few other noteworthy stats from the report:

- Nevada remains the foreclosure capital with the highest ratio of foreclosures per housing unit for the 37th straight month.
- Arizona was 2nd highest, with its foreclosures increasing by 4% month-over-month.
- Foreclosures declined by double digits percentages in California and Florida month-over-month, but the states still remain in the top-three for total foreclosures in January.
- California, Florida and Arizona accounted 44% of all foreclosures nationwide.
- Those three plus Illinois, Michigan and Texas account for 60% of all foreclosures.
- Phoenix was the only top-10 metro area to experience an increase in foreclosures month-over-month.
- Las Vegas was still the worst metro area for foreclosures, with one in every 82 housing units filing.

Presented by

Daniel Indiviglio was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 through 2011. He is now the Washington, D.C.-based columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He is also a 2011 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow through the Phillips Foundation. More

Indiviglio has also written for Forbes. Prior to becoming a journalist, he spent several years working as an investment banker and a consultant.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Business

Just In