Signs say foreclosure rates could fall

A home is offered for sale in the West Town community in Chicago, Ill.

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Banks took back 93,000 American homes in July. That's the eighth straight month of more U.S. home foreclosures. And yet, there are signs the crisis may start to ease in the months ahead. Marketplace's Jeff Horwich reports.


Jeff Horwich: The website RealtyTrac says foreclosures rose 9 percent from June to July. Most of those were in the usual suspects: California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada. But RealtyTrac's Rick Sharga says there are new emerging hot-spots:

Rick Sharga: Places like Idaho and Utah and Illinois, which weren't at the forefront of the foreclosure wave early on, but are now that the unemployment rates are high in those states.

But while actual foreclosures were up, the number of households receiving default notices continued to fall. That could mean fewer foreclosures down the road. Sharga says as the crisis drags on, banks are more willing to make deals -- negotiating short sales or helping customers lower payments.

Sharga: Some of the major banks are getting a little bit more aggressive with their own loan modification programs and actually starting to incorporate some principle balance reductions, which is one of the ways to make these programs a little bit more successful.

Right now banks own about 900,000 U.S. homes. But two-thirds of those aren't back on the market because the banks don't think they'll sell.

I'm Jeff Horwich for Marketplace.

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