Despite numbers, foreclosure crisis isn't better yet

Foreclosure sign

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Numbers out this morning on foreclosures from RealtyTrac seem pretty good on the face of it -- 4 percent fewer homeowners got a foreclosure notice in October compared to the month before. Nine percent fewer homes actually seized by banks.

But as Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports, there are still plenty of people in danger of losing their homes. It's just that paperwork problems are getting in the way.


Mitchell Hartman: RealtyTrac attributes the decline in foreclosures to the robo-signing controversy, where banks were caught seizing properties without going through the proper legal hoops. Investigations have slowed foreclosures down. But they should rebound, says Desmond Lachman at the American Enterprise Institute.

Desmond Lachman: This whole issue with robo-signing, all that that is going to do is stretch out the length of time it'll take the property market to find a bottom.

Lachman says the underlying problems causing people to stop paying their mortgages aren't getting better either. Those would be unemployment, and homeowners who owe more than their house is worth.

And with foreclosed properties flooding the market, Lachman says home prices will keep falling.

Lachman: A weakness in the housing market just heightens the risk that the United States could experience a double-dip recession.

Right now, foreclosure rates are worst in Nevada, Florida, Arizona, California and Michigan.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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