Processing woes lower mortgage default notices (Chicago Tribune)

 

By Mary Ellen Podmolik

February 11, 2011

More than 8,300 homeowners in Illinois received notices from lenders that they’d defaulted on their mortgages and had foreclosures proceedings initiated against them last month, according to a monthly foreclosure report issued Thursday by Web site RealtyTrac.

In addition to the 8,345 homeowners receiving default notices, another 1,908 received notice that their homes were scheduled for court-ordered auction and 2,910 homes in the state were repossessed by lenders.

The numbers, as expected, are low because foreclosure activity stalled during the fourth quarter of 2010 while mortgage servicers investigated the internal procedures for processing foreclosures and repossessing homes.

Nationally, all types of foreclosure notices were reported on 261,333 residential properties, a 1 percent increase from December but down 17 percent from January 2010.

“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 Saccacio, RealtyTrac CEO, in a statement. “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.”

Separately, Woodstock Institute reported Thursday that despite a 55.2 percent dip in foreclosure auctions between the third and fourth quarter due to the ‘robo-signing’ scandal and resulting investigations, completed foreclosure auctions in the Chicago area rose by 25.2 percent in 2010, to 30,981 properties. In 95 percent of those auctions, after which a homeowner typically is evicted, the homes became lender-owned.

In the six-county Chicago area, almost 80,000 default notices were issued in 2010. Condominiums accounted for 42.5 percent of all foreclosure activity last year.

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