From: Sofia Gutierrez [sofia@halldinpr.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 9:45 AM
To: Wasserman, Jim - Sacramento
Subject: U.S. Foreclosure Index: Foreclosures Surge to Highest Monthly Total Since Crisis Began/Embargoed for Wed 3/11/09

Please note this press release is embargoed for Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 12:01 am.  

 

 

Morning Jim,

 

 

Foreclosures.com, a national leader in foreclosure information for more than 20 years, will be releasing its U.S. Foreclosures Index for the month of February, showing an increase of 67% in completed foreclosures over numbers recorded in January.

 

It was just last month that January records showed a decrease in foreclosures and it appeared the housing crisis was on its way to a recovery. According to the U.S. Foreclosure Index, foreclosures are at their highest since the start of the foreclosure crisis.

 

So why the increase in foreclosures?

 

Alexis McGee, President of Foreclosures.com, states despite the efforts by government and many banks, the hopeful signs of the last quarter of 2008 and January didn’t follow through in February. Many homeowners are in trouble and rising unemployment continues to threaten to intensify the problem, she adds.

 

Nationally, the U.S. Foreclosure Index has found all regions to show an increase in foreclosures:

 

 

The foreclosure increase across all regions of the country occurred despite temporary foreclosure moratoria by many of the major banks—including Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Chase. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which had initiated moratoria from late November to Jan. 31, reinstated moratoria in mid-February as they awaited implementation of new congressional economic recovery laws, which are now in place.

 

Alexis McGee, states “annualizing the first two months of this year, if foreclosures were to continue unabated, we could end up with another about 1.2 million homes back in lenders’ hands by year-end. However, I am hopeful that our new administration’s plan to stem the foreclosure tide will take hold and we will see fewer foreclosures by year end. The Fed means business, and they’re throwing money—lots of it—behind the foreclosure crisis.”

 

Foreclosures.com's comprehensive analysis of pre-foreclosure and foreclosure proceedings nationwide is based on the number of formal notices filed against a property during the foreclosure process. That can include notice of default, notice of foreclosure auction, and/or notice of lender-owned real estate that occurs after a foreclosed property reverts back to the lender.

 

Alexis McGee, president of Foreclosures.com, has been studying foreclosures for more than 20 years and is available to discuss today’s housing market. A copy of Foreclosures.com's press release for the month is below. Please let me know if you would be interested in speaking to Alexis or would like additional statistics nationally or for any particular region.  

 

Please let me know if you would be interested to speaking to Alexis McGee, and I would be happy to arrange all details!

 

 

Best,

Sofia Gutierrez for Foreclosures.com

916.781.0648

www.foreclosures.com

 

 

 

 

 

Contact:

Sofia Gutierrez
ForeclosureS.com
916-781-0648
sofia@halldinpr.com

For Immediate Release, March 11, 2009

 

U.S. FORECLOSURE INDEX:

Foreclosures Surge in February to Reach Highest Monthly Level of the Foreclosure Crisis

 

Government, Lender Efforts Fail To Stem the Tide Yet

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif.Completed foreclosures in February reached the highest monthly total since the foreclosure crisis began, soaring by more than 67 percent over the prior months reduced foreclosures, according to the latest U.S. Foreclosure Index released today by ForeclosureS.com, a leading real estate information provider.

 

In February, 121,756 new foreclosures were completed, up from 72,694 in January, which had seen a 26 percent drop from December’s 97,841 foreclosures. The February number topped the previous monthly high of 104,243 new foreclosures seen last September – then the high-water mark for this crisis.

 

The U.S. Foreclosure Index also found the number of pre-foreclosure filings – the original filings that can lead to a foreclosure – also increasing to the highest monthly total since the foreclosure crisis began, hitting 207,703 in February, up nearly 27 percent from 163,771 in January and up 9 percent 190,467 in December, the previous monthly high.

 

“Despite the efforts to stem foreclosures by government and many banks, the hopeful signs of the last quarter of 2008 and January didn’t follow through in February,” says Alexis McGee, foreclosure expert, educator, and author. “Many homeowners are in trouble and rising unemployment continues to threaten to intensify the problem.”

 

Foreclosures increased across all regions despite temporary halts by major banks and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, primarily in the second half of February, in anticipation of the Obama administrations foreclosure mitigation effort. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac previously had foreclosure moratoria from Nov. 26 to Jan. 31, which helped to slow down foreclosures during that period, and reinstated the moratoria in mid-February. Nearly all the bank moratoria have since expired or are about to expire.

 

“Annualizing the first two months of this year, if foreclosures were to continue unabated, we could end up with another about 1.2 million homes back in lenders’ hands by year-end. However, I am hopeful that our new administration’s plan to stem the foreclosure tide will take hold and we will see fewer foreclosures by year end,” adds McGee, also president of ForeclosureS.com. “The Fed means business, and they’re throwing money—lots of it—behind the foreclosure crisis.”

 

Just last week, the Mortgage Banker’s Association’s National Delinquency Survey reported that the delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties rose to a new record seasonally adjusted rate of 7.88 percent of all loans outstanding as of the end of fourth-quarter 2008.

 

Those numbers don’t include loans somewhere in the foreclosure process (a record 3.3 percent of all loans outstanding).  MBA numbers also show that foreclosure inventory jumped sharply in the fourth quarter, while the number of loans entering foreclosure was relatively unchanged due in part to all the foreclosure moratoriums.

 

Regionally, the U.S. Foreclosure Index of Completed Foreclosures (Real Estate Owned) shows the following compared to the previous national monthly high:

 

 

National REOs

Sep-08

Dec-08

Jan-09

Feb-09

Change

Region

Filings

Feb vs. Sep Change

Filings

Feb vs. Dec Change

Filings

Filings

Feb vs. Jan Change

Midwest

18,579

29.88%

18,611

29.65%

12,716

24,130

89.76%

Southeast

26,796

19.51%

27,419

16.79%

21,839

32,024

46.64%

Northeast

3,217

232.79%

5,001

114.08%

4,495

10,706

138.18%

Southwest

55,480

-1.45%

46,646

17.21%

33,513

54,676

63.15%

Other States

171

28.65%

164

34.15%

131

220

67.94%

Nationwide

104,243

16.80%

97,841

24.44%

72,694

121,756

67.49%

 

The U.S. Foreclosure Index also found that the number of properties just starting the foreclosure process (pre-foreclosures) climbed across all regions in February.

 

Year-to-date five of every 1,000 households have dealt with pre-foreclosure. Annualizing the first two months of 2009 the U.S. could surpass 2.3 million pre-foreclosures for the year, says McGee.

 

Regionally, the U.S. Foreclosure Index of new pre-foreclosures shows:

 

 

National PreForeclosures

Sep-08

Dec-08

Jan-09

Feb-09

Change

Region

Filings

Feb vs. Sep Change

Filings

Feb vs. Dec Change

Filings

Filings

Feb vs. Jan Change

Midwest

19,071

20.71%

21,743

5.88%

19,319

23,021

19.16%

Southeast

68,969

2.21%

66,292

6.33%

56,938

70,491

23.80%

Northeast

20,429

-16.69%

17,567

-3.11%

15,635

17,020

8.86%

Southwest

64,872

48.74%

84,043

14.81%

74,563

96,492

29.41%

Other States

482

40.87%

822

-17.40%

405

679

67.65%

Nationwide

173,823

19.49%

190,467

9.05%

166,860

207,703

24.48%

 

 

Looking at U.S. Foreclosure Index state-by-state foreclosure numbers, only Kentucky, Delaware, and Wyoming showed month-to-month improvements in numbers (slight or unchanged).

 

The top five states – California,Florida, Arizona,Michigan, and Texas – continue to dominate in numbers of foreclosures in February. As jobless losses take their toll, Georgia, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, andNorth Carolina, along with other industrialized states, made the Top 10 state list of new foreclosed homes.

 

Looking closer at how state completed foreclosure numbers stack up month-to-month and against the national monthly high hit in September 2008:

 

 

Nationwide REOs 6 month

Top 10 States Nationwide REOs Last 6 months

 

 

 

State

Sep-08

Oct-08

Nov-08

Dec-08

Jan-09

Feb-09

Totals

Per Household

1.     California

31,851

17,214

16,032

20,952

14,351

23,988

124,388

1.08%

2.     Florida

11,374

10,187

11,373

12,786

10,007

14,243

69,970

1.11%

3.     Arizona

7,100

7,415

7,553

7,658

5,250

10,651

45,627

2.40%

4.     Michigan

5,143

4,783

4,974

5,138

2,465

8,869

31,372

1.05%

5.     Texas

5,727

5,425

4,645

7,505

5,367

7,998

36,667

0.61%

6.     Georgia

7,101

5,524

5,322

5,753

4,746

6,170

34,616

1.65%

7.     Ohio

4,295

3,884

3,314

5,594

4,300

4,763

26,150

0.67%

8.     Nevada

4,020

3,196

3,551

4,039

3,207

3,989

22,002

2.96%

9.     Illinois

4,005

2,909

2,155

2,217

2,111

3,301

16,698

0.44%

10.  Tennessee

2,164

1,795

2,252

2,529

1,659

2,988

13,387

0.64%

 

Looking at state-by-state pre-foreclosure numbers, Texas,Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska saw pre-foreclosures drop in February, from January.

 

Colorado, Washington,North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin registered relatively small gains in pre-foreclosures. Florida,California, Arizona, and Nevada, all heavy with sub-prime ARM mortgages, continued to have big pre-foreclosure numbers, as the economy and climbing joblessness hit strapped homeowners with a double whammy.

 

On pre-foreclosures, states with the highest levels of activity in February, compared to the national high hit in December 2008, include:

 

 


 

Top 10 States Nationwide Pre-Foreclosure Last 6 months

 

 

 

 

 

State

Sep-08

Oct-08

Nov-08

Dec-08

Jan-09

Feb-09

Totals

Per Household

1.     Florida

53,653

46,281

47,371

50,633

43,070

53,173

294,181

4.65%

2.     California

27,707

19,211

30,363

41,710

33,008

44,713

196,712

1.71%

3.     Arizona

11,284

10,970

11,988

12,327

10,223

16,453

73,245

3.88%

4.     Illinois

10,297

9,016

7,549

9,637

8,165

10,725

55,389

1.43%

5.     Nevada

7,341

8,132

6,891

6,935

6,774

9,738

45,811

6.20%

6.     Texas

5,697

7,899

7,471

8,210

9,917

8,661

47,855

0.91%

7.     New Jersey

8,739

8,180

7,219

7,385

5,887

6,928

44,338

1.45%

8.     Georgia

4,193

5,888

4,487

4,585

4,315

6,129

29,597

1.19%

9.     Michigan

2,935

5,847

4,574

4,728

5,752

6,033

29,869

1.07%

10.  Oregon

3,276

2,615

2,941

3,158

3,417

4,178

19,585

1.57%

 

Foreclosures and pre-foreclosures aside, there are bright spots in the housing market. Pending home sales rose in the West in January even though they dropped in the Midwest, South, and Northeast, according to a recent release from the National Association of Realtors.

 

The California Association of Realtors reported existing, single-family home sales up more than 100 percent in January from a year ago to a seasonally adjusted rate of 624,940. It was the first time that number surpassed 600,000 since October, 2005, according to CAR. January sales were up 14 percent from December sales.

 

“It looks like those same markets where the foreclosure mess began—including California, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada—are now seeing the market bottom and sales pick up again,” says McGee. Adding to that, housing affordability hit its highest level since 1970 in January. This is the time to buy, adds McGee. 

 

The National Association of Realtor’s Housing Affordability Index shows that a median-income family can afford a home priced at $283,400 in January with a 20 percent downpayment, assuming 25 percent of gross income is devoted to mortgage principal and interest. A year ago, that same family could only afford a $263,300. “I see a housing rally ahead because consumers simply can’t afford to sit on the sidelines any longer,” adds McGee.

 

ForeclosureS.com has been the professional’s source for accurate foreclosure property information for more than 20 years. The company bases its analysis on the number of formal notices filed against a property during the foreclosure process. That can include notice of default, notice of foreclosure auction, and/or notice of REO (lender-owned real estate that occurs after a foreclosed property fails to sell at auction and reverts back to the lender). Pre-foreclosure filings are initial notices that all do not end up as foreclosure.

 

For more Foreclosure Statistics and Information for your area, as well as expert commentary from Alexis McGee, president of ForeclosureS.com, please contact Sofia Gutierrez, ForeclosureS.com, 916-781-0648 or sofia@halldinpr.com.