news.cuna.org/articles/106849-st-half-of-2015-sees-fewest-foreclosure-starts-in-10-years

1st half of 2015 sees fewest foreclosure starts in 10 years

July 21, 2015

IRVINE, Calif. (7/21/15)--The first six months of 2015 saw the smallest number of foreclosure starts in roughly 10 years, according to Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac.

Roughly 304,000 properties started the foreclosure process in the first half of the year, a 4% drop annually and 18% down from the first half of 2006--just before the housing market crashed (Housingwire.com July 16).

Further, nearly 600,000 properties were hit with foreclosure filings overall--including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions--in the first half of the year, a 13% drop from the prior six months and 3% down on a year-over-year basis.

“U.S. foreclosure starts have not only returned to pre-housing crisis levels, they have fallen well below those pre-crisis levels and are still searching for a floor, down 4% from a year ago,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac (Housingwire.com). “Loans originated in the last five years continue to perform better than historic norms, with tighter lending standards and more cautious borrower behavior acting as important guardrails for the real estate boom of the past three years.”

Nearly 40% of all states saw foreclosure starts fall to or below their pre-recession levels in the first six months of the year, including California, Florida, Arizona, Georgia and Illinois.

Though, bank repossessions remained higher than their pre-crash levels in 35 states.

“The workout of distressed properties continues to dwindle back toward normal market ratios,” said Mark Hughes, chief operating officer, First Team Real Estate (Housingwire.com). “Although it’s been a long recovery, the bad loans and bank-owned properties are winding their way through the long process.”