There were over 900,000 foreclosures in the third quarter as Foreclosures rise 5 percent from summer to fall.

The number of households caught up in the foreclosure crisis rose more than 5 percent from summer to fall as a federal effort to assist struggling borrowers was overwhelmed by a flood of defaults among people who lost their jobs.

The foreclosure crisis affected nearly 938,000 properties in the July-September quarter, compared with about 890,000 in the prior three months, according to a report released Thursday by RealtyTrac Inc. That puts foreclosure-related filings on a pace to hit about 3.5 million this year, up from more than 2.3 million last year.

“The sheer scale of the problem is preventing the loan modification programs from having the kind of impact we’d all like” said Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac’s senior vice president for marketing.

Some homeowners are in such a massive financial hole that it’s hard to design a modification that will actually provide lower payments. And some have avoided paying their monthly bills for a long time.

According to the RealtyTrac report, there were nearly 344,000 foreclosure-related filings last month, down 4 percent from a month earlier but still the third-highest month since the report started in early 2005.

It was the seventh-straight month in which more than 300,000 households receiving a foreclosure filing, which includes default notices and several other legal notices that homeowners receive before they finally lose their homes.

Banks repossessed nearly 88,000 homes in September, up from about 76,000 a month earlier.

On a state-by-state basis, Nevada had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate in the July-September quarter. Arizona was No. 2, followed by California, Florida and Idaho. Rounding out the top 10 were Utah, Georgia, Michigan, Colorado and Illinois.

As I have stated before, bailing out the banks did nothing for cash-strapped, unemployed consumers stuck in homes they cannot sell because they are too far underwater.

Supposedly the administration’s programs have helped 500,000 but many of them will end up defaulting anyway. Assume a 50% failure rate and 250,000 were “helped”. Yet we are on a pace for 3.5 million foreclosures.

Moreover, many of those “helped” were probably better off walking away. Meanwhile unemployment is 9.8% and rising. I expect to see close to 11% next year and stubbornly high unemployment for a decade.

Good luck getting sustained home price appreciation out of that mix, especially with boomers retiring and looking to downsize. Structural problems are massive.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List