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Report: Foreclosure starts fall, but completed foreclosures rise

Given the profound impact of the recent recession, it's certainly understandable how many people would continue to view reports containing positive news in relation to the housing market with a certain degree of skepticism. However, it simply can't be ignored that more and more of these reports are painting a decidedly brighter forecast for the U.S. housing market.

Just this week, the real estate tracking firm RealtyTrac released its latest report discussing the foreclosure trends in the nation during the third quarter, which runs from July to September.

The report shows that foreclosure starts, meaning the initiation of the foreclosure process, hit 174,366 homes during the third quarter, marking a seven-year low.

Overall, foreclosure starts were down 39 percent on a year-over-year basis and down 13 percent from the previous quarter, which ran from April to June.

RealtyTrac experts attribute much of the decline in foreclosure starts to the relative stabilization of the economy, which has seen steady job growth, rising home prices and a steep decline in the number of problematic pre-recession mortgages.

"It's looking really good that there are not more coming into the pipeline," said one RealtyTrac executive. "Barring any other economic shock to the system, we expect that to bode well going forward."

It wasn't all good news, however, as the report also found that while the number of completed foreclosures by lenders fell 24 percent on a year-over-year basis, it jumped seven percent from the previous quarter.

In total, lenders completed 119,485 foreclosures in the third quarter, meaning the nation is currently on pace for nearly 507,500 completed foreclosures for 2013, a 24 percent decline from 2012.

Why then did the rate of completed foreclosures suddenly tick upward in the third quarter?

RealtyTrac experts believe that much of it can be traced to the fact that foreclosures are continuing to work their way through those states where courts oversee the entire foreclosure process, a system that has served to create a sizeable backlog.

It is worth noting that the report also indicated that South Carolina came in at number ten on the list of states with the highest foreclosure rates during the third quarter.

Consider contacting an experienced legal professional if you would like to learn more about your rights and your options concerning foreclosure.

Source: The Washington Post, "US homes entering foreclosure process slid in 3Q to lowest level in 7 years," October 9, 2013

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