In July, more than 360,000 U.S. households drew a foreclosure filing (i.e., notice of default, auction, and/or bank repossession), which represents a new monthly record since RealtyTrac began issuing its updates in January 2005. So far in 2009, 2.3 million homes have drawn a foreclosure filing. (The National Association of Realtors says that pending home sales have risen for the fifth month in a row, the first since 2003. Read more about the NAR's Pending Home Sales Index.)
Florida, California, Arizona, and Nevada—accounted for almost 57 percent of foreclosure activity in July. One in every 56 properties in Nevada got a filing—more than six times the national average—in spite of a new state law that took effect on July 1 requiring lenders to offer mediation to homeowners facing foreclosure. In Michigan, foreclosure activity fell 39 percent in July from June as a similar state law freezing foreclosures for homeowners who commit to work on a loan modification took effect on July 6.
If you're considering a reverse mortgage as a way to dig yourself out of financial woes, be sure to read "Reversals of Fortune," from the September 2009 issue of Consumer Reports. As our investigation notes, reverse mortgages "can be terrible for customers who don't understand the complicated rules governing them and how quickly high fees and interest charges can balloon. They can end up stranded in their homes without any remaining equity to cover unexpected costs later in life." e-mail | Twitter | Forums | Facebook
Essential information: If you're a foreclosure vulture and are considering investing in distressed properties, learn about inspecting and buying foreclosed homes and avoiding foreclosure-related scams.