U.S. Foreclosures Jump 57% as Homeowners Walk Away
April 15 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. foreclosure filings jumped 57 percent and bank repossessions more than doubled in March from a year earlier as adjustable mortgages increased and more owners gave up their homes to lenders.
More than 234,000 properties were in some stage of foreclosure, or one in every 538 U.S. households, Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac Inc., a seller of default data, said today in a statement. Nevada, California and Florida had the highest foreclosure rates. Filings rose 5 percent from February.
``We're not near the bottom of this at all,'' said Kenneth Rosen, chairman of Rosen Real Estate Securities LLC, a hedge fund in Berkeley, California and chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate at the University of California at Berkeley. ``The foreclosure process will accelerate throughout the year.
Bank seizures climbed 129 percent from a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac, which has a database of more than 1 million properties and monitors foreclosure filings including defaults notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions. March was the 27th consecutive month of year-on-year monthly foreclosure increases. In February, foreclosure filings rose 60 percent
California had the second-highest rate at one filing for every 204 households, and the most filings for the 15th consecutive month at 64,711. Foreclosure filings more than doubled from a year earlier and were up about 21 percent from February.
``The continued increase in new foreclosures implies an even larger drag on prices in 2008,'' Goldman Sachs Chief U.S. Economist Jan Hatzius wrote April 8. Home prices fell 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter, the biggest decline in 20 years as measured by the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index.