Number Of Residential Properties With Active Foreclosure Filings Fell In February
RealtyTrac Reports 2nd Straight Month-Over-Month Decline For Connecticut
Kenneth R. Gosselin
March 10, 2011
Residential properties in Connecticut with active foreclosure filings fell nearly 11 percent in February compared with the previous month — the second month-over-month decline in a row, according to a report to be released Thursday.
While the numbers appear encouraging, it remains unclear whether borrower troubles are truly easing.
Properties with foreclosure filings in the state totaled 747 in February, down from 837 the previous month, according to the report from RealtyTrac, the foreclosure tracking and marketing firm, which is releasing its national and state-by-state monthly report.
Connecticut's decline was more moderate than the nearly 14 percent decline for the nation as a whole.
Last month's total for Connecticut was a sharp 67 percent lower than the number of properties with active filings in February 2010. There have now been seven months in a row with year-over-year decreases in foreclosure activity.
In addition, six of the last 12 months in Connecticut have had month-over-month declines in properties with foreclosure filings.
But James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac's chief executive, said the declines both nationally and in many states can likely be attributed to the fallout from last fall's "robo-signing" scandal, which slowed the foreclosure process.
"While a small part of February's decrease can be attributed to it being a short month and bad weather," Saccacio said, "the bottom line is that the industry is in the midst of a major overhaul that has severely restricted its capacity to process foreclosures."
Saccacio said he expects "the numbers [to] bounce back, but that will likely take several months."
State and federal officials are seeking to overhaul mortgage practices, writing stricter regulations for mortgage servicers in the hope that more struggling households will be spared losing their home. Now, government loan modification programs are voluntary.
Last week, the nation's largest banks, including Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., were sent a 27-page proposal from states attorneys general, including Connecticut's, and federal regulators to revamp mortgage-servicing practices.
The proposal is separate from the proposed penalties following last fall's "robo-signing" scandal. A settlement could force banks to write down more than $20 billion in mortgage balances for borrowers who are underwater.
Connecticut had one property with a filing for every 1,936 households in February, ranking it 40th highest — down from 39th highest in January. That compares with one property for every 1,727 households in January.
Nevada ranked the highest with one property in foreclosure for every 119 households, while Vermont ranked the lowest, at one property for every 63,849 households. The nation as a whole had one property for every 577 households.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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