There were 681,153 separate foreclosure filings in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2011, a 15 percent drop from the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the latest statistics from RealtyTrac. This was also a 27 percent drop from the first quarter of 2010.
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Foreclosure filings counted in the survey include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, the report said. In all, one in every 191 homes across the country was in some stage of foreclosure.
“The nation’s housing market continued to languish in the first quarter, even as foreclosure activity fell to a three-year low,” said James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Weak demand, declining home prices and the lack of credit availability are weighing heavily on the market.”
March in particular saw foreclosures reach a significant milestone, the report said. While this was a 7 percent uptick in the number of filings made between that month and February, the 239,795 actions taken against homeowners were 35 percent lower than the number in the same month the year prior. That figure was the highest ever observed by RealtyTrac, which began keeping tabs on foreclosure filings in January 2005.
However, much of the decline in foreclosures may be the result of a severe backup for lenders in processing these actions, rather than consumers making better efforts to pay their bills every month.