Foreclosure filings were reported on 341,180 properties in March, a 17 percent increase from the previous month and a 46 percent increase from March 2008. The March and Q1 2009 totals were the highest monthly and quarterly totals since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005 despite a decrease in bank repossessions (REOs), which were down 13 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008 and 3 percent from February totals.
“In the month of March we saw a record level of foreclosure activity — the number of households that received a foreclosure filing was more than 12 percent higher than the next highest month on record. Since much of this activity was in new foreclosure actions, it suggests that many lenders and servicers were holding off on executing foreclosures due to industry moratoria and legislative delays,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.
“It’s also likely that the drop in REO activity can be attributed to these processing delays, rather than to any of the foreclosure prevention programs currently in place. It’s very likely that we’ll see the number of REOs increase again now that most of the moratoria have been lifted.”