U.S. foreclosures recently fell to their lowest level since July of 2007, hitting a nearly five-year low. However, this seemingly-positive announcement is not as straightforward as it seems, as shown by a closer examination of the data. While foreclosure rates declined in several of the "hardest-hit" states, Georgia is just one of many states that saw a year-over-year increase in foreclosures.
According to the data from real estate research firm RealtyTrac, the number of U.S. foreclosures fell in April both from the prior month and the previous year. From March 2012 to April 2012, the number of default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions fell by 5 percent. From April 2011 to April 2012, the number of default notices fell by 14 percent, while the number of repossessions dropped by a whopping 26 percent.
However, Georgia and at least 20 other states saw an increase in year-over-year foreclosure filings, and 11 of the 20 largest metro areas in the United States, including Atlanta, posted annual increases. So why the nationwide fall in foreclosure filings? RealtyTrac says that many large states who had previously struggled with foreclosure saw significant declines in their rates, outweighing the increases that Georgia, Atlanta and many other states and metro areas experienced.
So is it incorrect or misleading to report that the foreclosure rate is falling in the U.S.? No, probably not. But we can only hope that, someday soon, Georgia residents see similarly positive foreclosure declines.
We will continue this discussion in a second bankruptcy blog post later this week.
Source: CBS MoneyWatch, "Foreclosures reach lowest level since 2007," Ilyce Glink, May 17, 2012