published Friday, October 12th, 2012

Foreclosure filings plummet to 5-year low

Foreclosure filings fell in September to their lowest level in more than five years as a housing market rebound showed another sign of taking hold.

Substantial decreases in some states hard-hit by the collapse of the housing bubble helped reduce filings to 180,427 last month, down 7 percent from August and 16 percent from a year earlier, according to foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac.

The last time filings were that low was in July 2007.

In Hamilton County, the number of properties foreclosed upon in September, 87, was down 14 percent from a year ago. But for the entire third quarter, 271 properties in Hamilton County were given up to foreclosure this year, up more than 70 percent from the 162 property foreclosures last year, according to filings with the Hamilton County Register of Deeds.

In the RealtyTrac report of foreclosure filings, notices and bank repossession actions, third quarter filings nationwide declined to the lowest quarter since the end of 2007. RealtyTrac said there were 531,576 filings in the period, down 5 percent from the second quarter and 13 percent year-over-year, the ninth-straight quarter with an annual decrease.

"We've been waiting for the other foreclosure shoe to drop since late 2010, when questionable foreclosure practices slowed activity to a crawl in many areas, but that other shoe is instead being carefully lowered to the floor and therefore making little noise in the housing market - at least at a national level," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

"Make no mistake, however, the other shoe is dropping quite loudly in certain states, primarily those where foreclosure activity was held back the most last year," he said.

Nationwide foreclosure starts decreased on an annual basis for the second straight month in September following three straight months of annual increases. Foreclosures were started on 87,066 U.S. properties during the month, down 12 percent from August and down 15 percent from September 2011.

September foreclosure starts decreased on an annual basis in 31 states, including a 26 percent drop in Tennessee and a 21 percent drop in Georgia.

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