A Significant Decline in Foreclosure Activity Brought On by Robo-Signing
For the second month in a row, foreclosure activity was impacted by voluntary foreclosure suspensions, after certain practices commonly used during the foreclosure process were called into question. While initially limited to judicial foreclosure states, the so-called Robo-signing controversy began impacting foreclosures in non-judicial states, including those in our coverage area in early October.
Foreclosure starts were down across the board in November, ranging from a 9.3 percent month-over-month decline in California to a staggering 31.7 percent decline in Washington. Despite the fact that Robo-signing was not directly tied to foreclosure filings in non-judicial foreclosure states, foreclosure starts in our coverage area have dropped 25.5 percent since the controversy began.
Foreclosure sales continued to be impacted by Robo-signing related foreclosure suspensions more directly, as Ally (GMAC), Bank of America, and PNC all halted foreclosure sales nationwide, contributing to a 38.7 percent drop in foreclosure sales over the last two months within our coverage area. In November, foreclosure sales dropped the most dramatically in Washington, after having seen the little impact in October; while California had the least dramatic decline with a drop of 9.0 percent. After having had the largest impact on foreclosure sales, Bank of America slowly began foreclosing again the week of December 6th. Their return will likely lead back to normal foreclosure levels in the months to come.
"Since September 2008 the foreclosure process has seen significant bottlenecks, first due to government intervention and now lender ineptitude," says Sean O'Toole, CEO, and Founder of PropertyRadar.com. "Unfortunately the resulting delays will only serve to extend the time it takes to recover and return to a normal housing market.."
Continuing downward, Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped 24.4 percent from October to November, reaching their lowest level since March 2008. The holidays, and issues around the Robo-signing controversy, likely contributed to the significant drop. Foreclosure sales were down 14.8 percent from October to November, following a 26.9 percent decline the prior month, resulting in the lowest number of sales since September 2009.
Foreclosure activity decelerated across the board in California. Notice of Default filings dipped 9.3 percent month over month, while Notice of Trustee filings declined a mere 1.0 percent from October. Cancellations of foreclosure sales dropped 8.5 percent in November, down 54 percent from their peak in June, likely due in part to the failure of the Administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Foreclosure sales are down by 9.0 percent from October, though sales to 3rd parties increased by 7.8 percent.
Foreclosure activity in Nevada dropped significantly over the past two months. Foreclosure sales are down 22.1 percent from October to November, and an incredible 50.5 percent from September. Notice of default filings are also down for the second month in a row, dropping 12.7 percent from October, and 24.3 percent from September. Clearly, Nevada foreclosure activity was impacted not only by the holidays but also by delays caused by the Robo-signing controversy.
Oregon's Notice of Default filings and Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped for the third consecutive month, reaching their lowest point since Q4 2008. Notice of Default filings declined 25.0 percent from October to November, and Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped 21.2 percent. Foreclosure sales declined 26.7 percent in November, and have dropped 54.3 percent since September. After a four-month decline, cancellations of foreclosure sales increased 34.8 percent from October.
While Washington showed little impact from the Robo-signing controversy in October, foreclosure activity dropped dramatically in November. Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped 31.7 percent from October, but are still up 16.2 percent from a year earlier. Similarly, foreclosure sales dropped 38.1 percent from October but are up 29.3 percent from November 2009.