This Country is in the middle of a foreclosure feeding frenzy!
Foreclosure activity up across most US metro areas
By ALEX VEIGA
The Associated Press
Those states saw housing values surge during the housing boom years. When the boom ended, values collapsed and foreclosures soared.
But the latest data show that many of the metro areas in those states saw a decline in the number of households receiving foreclosure-related filings, while many cities in other states saw a spike in foreclosure activity.
“The epidemic is spreading from the states at the ground zero of the foreclosure problems out into areas that hadn’t been previously affected,” said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at RealtyTrac.
The trend is the latest sign that the nation’s foreclosure crisis is worsening as homeowners facing high unemployment, slow job growth and uncertainty about home prices continue to fall behind on their mortgage payments.
In all, 133 out of 206 metropolitan areas with at least 200,000 residents posted an annual increase in foreclosure activity in the three months ended Sept. 30, RealtyTrac said.
The firm tracks notices for defaults, scheduled home auctions and home repossessions — warnings that can lead up to a home eventually being lost to foreclosure.
Eleven out of the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas saw foreclosure activity increase in the third quarter compared to the same period last year.
The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area registered the sharpest annual increase — 71 percent. One in every 129 households received a foreclosure filing.
The Chicago-Naperville-Joliet metropolitan area posted the second-highest annual jump, a 35 percent increase. One in every 84 households received a foreclosure notice.
Among the other metro areas where foreclosure activity jumped by a large margin this summer were Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, up 26 percent; Detroit-Warren-Livonia, at nearly 23 percent; and, Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, up 20 percent.
Economic woes, such as unemployment or reduced income, continue to be the main catalysts for foreclosures this year. The U.S. unemployment rate hit 9.6 percent last month.
In the Seattle metro area, unemployment stood slightly lower at 8.5 percent in August and has been edging lower. It was 8.7 percent in August last year.
Still, many troubled homeowners have been unable to hang on. As a result, there’s been no letup in the inventory of foreclosed homes on the market this year, says John Bauer, an agent with ZipRealty in Seattle who represents lenders selling foreclosed properties.
“It has been on an upward trend curve ever since 2008,” Bauer said. “And not just the third quarter of this year, but the last 12 months, it’s been on a steady ascension.”
Chicago also had the third-highest number of homes repossessed by lenders during the quarter — 12,568 — behind the Phoenix metro area’s 14,317 and the Miami metro area’s 12,963, RealtyTrac said.
Banks have seized more than 816,000 homes through the first nine months of the year and are on pace to seize more than a million.
A controversy stemming from allegations that banks evicted people without reading foreclosure documents wasn’t a factor in the July-September quarter, Sharga said.
Lenders such as Bank of America and Ally Financial‘s GMAC Mortgage initially halted foreclosure activity but have since resumed processing foreclosures.
Preliminary data from this month shows almost no change in foreclosure activity versus September, Sharga said.
“We’re not seeing what we might have anticipated in terms of a falloff,” he said.
The Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., metropolitan area topped the list of metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates in July-September with one in every 25 homes receiving a foreclosure warning — more than five times the national average. But foreclosure filings declined 20 percent from the same quarter last year.
“It’s not out of the woods yet, it’s just less bad than it was a year ago,” Sharga said.
Rounding out the rest of the top 10 metros with the highest foreclosure rate were Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; Modesto, Calif.; Stockton, Calif.; Merced, Calif.; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.; Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla.; Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.; Bakersfield, Calif.; and Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.
Came across my email today, from our friends at Foreclosure Fraud (4closureFraud.org):
October 14, 2010
Robert S. Mueller III
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20535
Middle District of Florida
400 North Tampa Street, Suite 3200
Tampa, FL 33602
Dear U.S. Attorney O’Neill and Director Mueller,
When it comes to foreclosures, there is mounting evidence of a state of rampant lawlessness in Central Florida. There are increasing signs that big banks routinely evade laws meant to protect homeowners, in many well-documented cases of ‘foreclosure fraud.’ Despite the demonstrated existence, for instance, of ‘robosigners’ signing affidavits attesting to documents that they have never seen, the parties engaging in such misconduct are not being brought to justice. Big banks are mischaracterizing this as mere ‘technical problems,’ and apologizing only where there is clear and very public evidence of harm.
It is not enough for big banks only to apologize for fraud, perjury, and even breaking and entering – when they are caught. It is time for handcuffs. Fraud does not become legal just because a big bank does it.
On September 20, 2010, after my office found evidence of systemic foreclosure fraud perpetrated by big banks and foreclosure mills, I called for a halt to illegal foreclosures.
Since then, big banks such as Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, GMAC, PNC and others have suspended foreclosures or foreclosure sales. These banks are still claiming that the massive fraud they have perpetrated amounts to nothing more than a series of technical mistakes. This is absurd. This is deliberate, systemic fraud, and it is a crime.
To give but two of the many available examples, attached is a deposition from an ex-employee of one of the largest ‘foreclosure mills’ in the state, the Law Offices of David Stern. In it, this employee testifies under oath that it was routine for that office to falsify documents regarding military records, in order to move foreclosure cases along more quickly.
The local media has reported on the case of Nancy Jacobini; a contractor for JP Morgan Chase broke into her home after the bank mistakenly foreclosed on it. JP Morgan Chase ‘apologized’ for terrifying her. But , US ; we have a system of laws. I am writing to ask you to enforce them.
The organized and systematic manufacturing of falsified documents to deprive people of their homes is not only a threat to the integrity of the legal system. It also aggravates and extends the weakness in the housing market. Who is going to feel comfortable buying a home if a big bank can simply take it, whether or not that bank has a right to it? Given the securitization of mortgage-backed securities, this misconduct is a threat to our securities markets as well. But fundamentally, this is a question of protecting basic property rights – if you don’t own it, then you shouldn’t try to take it. Without clear property rights, and a legal system that insists on clear proof of those rights before transferring ownership by force, the economy will fall apart.
If perpetrators of perjured affidavits and other systematic criminal activity can get off simply with civil liability – or even less, an insincere bureaucratic apology – the freedom that Americans enjoy will erode quickly in the face of lawless seizures of property. I appreciate your work on the joint Middle District of Florida’s Mortgage Fraud Initiative, and respectfully request that the efforts of your offices turn towards reining in this rampant criminality.
Member of Congress
It reminds me of when DeKalb County Police Department sat and told us, when talking about the forged easement documents GA Power was using to claim an easement on our property, “Well we can’t arrest Georgia Power“. When asked what they would do if it were us using the same documents, we were told “We would arrest you”