In 2010, one million homes were foreclosed on by the banks. (Many more received a foreclosure filing.)
The number of foreclosures would have been even higher except for the foreclosure moratoriums imposed by the banks near the end of the year.
While everyone in the real estate industry is hopeful that 2011 is going to be the big turnaround year, it doesn't look good for foreclosures. Here are five things you should know about foreclosures as we begin 2011:
1. Foreclosure lawsuits are slowing the total number of foreclosures
2. The number of foreclosures will rise in 2011
Although foreclosures slowed at the end of 2010, those homeowners still aren't paying on their mortgages. Lenders will begin to pick up the pace of foreclosure filings as some cases are resolved (even as new ones are filed). These properties still have to go through the foreclosure process, which means 2011 could be a record-high year for foreclosures, according to RealtyTrac Senior Vice President
3. Foreclosures might not drop to more normal levels until 2014 -- or later
Blomquist said he thinks that, in baseball terms, the U.S. housing market is in about the 7th inning, or past the middle but with quite a bit left to run. He's not alone. National housing economists agree that the next few years will be tough for the housing industry, with potentially another 4 million to 12 million foreclosures that haven't yet gone through the pipeline.
4. Unemployment is still tied directly to foreclosures
This week's initial filing for unemployment benefits jumped again, above economists' expectations. Losing your job means less cash in the household to pay bills, including the mortgage. Lenders are trying to keep homeowners from living rent-free (by not making any mortgage payments) and are jumping on delinquent borrowers more quickly. But until the sky-high unemployment rate declines, it's tough to see how the number of foreclosures will fall. Last year, one in 45 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing -- defined as a default notice, scheduled auction or bank repossession.
5. Foreclosures are everywhere, destroying communities
While a handful of states account for the majority of foreclosures, there are plenty to go around. The states with the highest number of foreclosures include
The big news in 2010 is that the number of completed foreclosures rose significantly, Blomquist said. As the loan modification programs wind down (the Obama administration says most of those who qualify have already gone through the system and the rest are, it seems, out of luck), additional foreclosures will be completed.
In other words, 2011 doesn't look like it's going to provide a real boost to the housing industry except, perhaps, for foreclosure listing agents.
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Real Estate - Five Things You Should Know About Foreclosure in 2011
(c) 2011 Ilyce R. Glink. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.