Foreclosures on steep decline

Actions by lenders to take back homes hit a six-year low in November; Lane County sees decline from 2012

By Alex Veiga
The Associated Press
Published: 12:00 a.m., Dec 12

LOS ANGELES — While foreclosures remain a concern in select states, the number of U.S. homes entering the path to foreclosure or winding up repossessed by lenders has fallen to levels not see in more than six years.

The trend is the latest sign foreclosures are becoming less of a national factor on the housing recovery and more of a state and metropolitan-area concern.

Lenders initiated foreclosure action against 52,826 U.S. homes in November, down 10 percent from the previous month and a drop of 32 percent from November last year, according to new data from foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc.

The last time the tally of monthly foreclosure starts was lower was in December 2005, the firm said.

In Lane County, a total of 45 households received some sort of foreclosure filing last month, roughly the same as the previous month, but well below the total of 139 in November 2012, according to RealtyTrac, a California firm that tracks foreclosure data nationwide.

John Helmick, CEO of Eugene-based Gorilla Capital, said that “since new legislation went into effect in August 2013, we have seen a dramatic drop in judicial foreclosures as the judicial process of foreclosure has fallen out of favor with lenders. Lenders are now pursuing the non-judicial (NOD) process of foreclosure. Because of the new pre-foreclosure notice requirements necessary to begin the NOD process, we expect the NOD filings to spike in the next three months, and Oregon will be one of the few states that will see foreclosures in 2014 exceed the number of foreclosures in 2013.”

Nationwide, foreclosure starts increased last month on an annual basis in 15 states, including Oregon, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.

While fewer homes entered the foreclosure pipeline in November, the number of homes completing the foreclosure process also declined.

All told, lenders took back 30,461 homes last month.

— Register-Guard Business Editor Ilene Aleshire contributed to this report

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