Is a New Wave of Foreclosures Rising?

In August, mortgage lenders started so many home foreclosures that the month-to-month increase was the biggest since August of 2007. For nearly a year the number of foreclosures has been relatively low as lenders have reacted to an explosion of challenges to the legality of their mortgage and foreclosure practices. But this new surge in foreclosure starts may reflect that the lenders think they have worked through these problems.

According to RealtyTrac, mortgage default notices–the first step in the foreclosure process—increased by 33% from July to August.

That increase has to take into consideration that July’s numbers had been relatively low. Not only had the number of foreclosure filings come down modestly—by 4%–from the prior month. They were also down significantly—by 18%–from a year earlier. In fact, July 2011 had the lowest foreclosure activity in 44 months.

Now with this 33% increase in August, the tide seems to be turning. But is it going to turn into a new wave of foreclosures?

That’s impossible to tell. Not only are there countless factors at play here, they shift all the time, reacting to the constantly changing environment.

Just take a look at one of the factors affecting how many foreclosures are filed: the ongoing legal challenges to foreclosures. These challenges are making their way through the court appeals systems. For example, just a couple days ago the Supreme Court of Alabama ruled that the embattled MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) has standing to foreclose. That ruling will presumably open the foreclosure spigots in Alabama, because some lenders undoubtedly had held off on foreclosing while awaiting that ruling. Similar dynamics are at play in just about every state.

This means is that foreclosure trends can be very much a local and dynamic affair. This means you need local advice. Day in and day out I constantly deal with mortgage lenders, and help local homeowners make good decisions about their homes. Give me a call so that I can help you, too.