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February Data on Lender and Tax Foreclosures Dash Hopes

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By : John Cutts    99 or more times read
Despite efforts by the federal and state governments, banks and nonprofits to help solve the foreclosure crisis, the number of foreclosure filings increased by 67 percent from January foreclosure figures, according to foreclosure and real estate research firm

There were 121,756 completed foreclosures in February, an increase of 49,062 units from the total January foreclosures of 72,694. It even surpassed the highest monthly record of 104,243 in September 2008, setting a new record. Pre-foreclosure filings also increased by 24 percent from the January level, setting a new pre-foreclosure record.

There was no data presented on tax foreclosures, but it is believed that the number of individuals who have lost homes to tax foreclosures have also risen. Unemployment, the key factor cited by Alexis McGee, also affected people troubled not only by lender foreclosures, but also by tax foreclosures.

In January, when foreclosure figures went down by 26 percent from December 2008 data, several analysts had hoped that lender and tax foreclosures were beginning their slide down, but the February data is another letdown.

McGee reported that foreclosures in all regions increased despite moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions. The largest increase occurred in the Northeast, where filings rose by 138 percent from January levels, followed by Midwest, which had an increase of 90 percent. Third was the Southwest, with an increase of 63 percent. The Southeastern region was fourth, with an increase of 46 percent. also emphasized that the foreclosure numbers represent completed foreclosures, not just foreclosure filings going through the foreclosure process. McGee contended that based on the first two months’ data, total foreclosures for the year 2009 could reach 1.2 million if nothing is done to stop the foreclosure avalanche. He is however hopeful that lender and tax foreclosures would decline by the end of the year because of Obama’s more aggressive program in comparison to the Bush administration’s lackluster effort.

Obama’s program, now dubbed Home Affordable initiatives, offers loan refinancing to up to 5 million borrowers of loans provided or guaranteed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. It also offers loan modification to up to 4 million borrowers whose home values have deteriorated to levels much lower than the amount they owe. Although not included in the program, individuals troubled by tax foreclosures can be indirectly helped by the broader parts of the program intended to create and save jobs.

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