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U.S. Foreclosures Rise 55%, Bank Seizures Reach High

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Dan Levy
Bloomberg
Thursday, Aug 14, 2008

Banks repossessed almost three times as many U.S. homes in July than a year earlier and the number of properties at risk of foreclosure jumped 55 percent as falling prices made it harder to sell or refinance.

Bank seizures rose 184 percent to 77,295, the steepest increase since reporting began in January 2005, RealtyTrac Inc., an Irvine, California-based seller of foreclosure data, said today in a statement. More than 272,000 properties, or one in 464 U.S. households, got a default notice, were warned of a pending auction or foreclosed on.

“It’s getting worse,” Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac’s executive vice president for marketing, said in an interview. “The number of properties that have been foreclosed on by the banks and still haven’t sold is the highest we’ve ever seen.”

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Nevada, California and Florida had the highest rates. Total foreclosure filings rose 8 percent from the previous month to 272,171, just shy of the record 273,001 set in May, said RealtyTrac, which has a database of more than 1.5 million properties. Through July, 775,244 properties were owned by banks, compared with about 445,000 for all of 2007 and about 224,000 in 2006, Sharga said.

Foreclosures are depressing home prices, contributing to job losses and weakening consumption as fewer people borrow against the value of their home, New York-based analysts at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. said Aug. 7.

U.S. home prices fell 15.8 percent in May, the most since at least 2001, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index. One-third of home sellers in the second quarter lost money, Zillow.com, a Seattle-based provider of home valuations, reported this week.

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This article was posted: Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 12:56 pm





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