Foreclosure sales rise

Foreclosure sales are on the rise, even in states where banks need court approval to foreclose on a home.

Sales rose to 91,000 in January, up 29% from the month before, according to LPS Mortgage Monitor.

Foreclosure sales are when a bank completes the foreclosure process and takes possession of the home.

Experts have been closely monitoring foreclosure activity for signs of a resurgence.

Foreclosure sales had dropped in the fall of 2010 after major problems in banks’ documentation practices came to light. Foreclosure sales had peaked at 124,000 in Sept. 2010 and then flatlined most of last year.

The most notable jump in sales came in the 24 so-called judicial states, where banks must get a judge’s permission before foreclosing on a home. There were more than 33,000 sales in these states in January, up 51% from the month before. Sales had peaked at 45,000 in September 2010 and then averaged around 20,000 through the end of last year.

Though it’s too early to say whether it’s the start of a trend, the increase is notable, said LPS’ Herb Blecher.

“It’s the sign we’ve been looking for,” said Blecher, a senior vice president at LPS Applied Analytics. “It’s what has to happen for the pipeline to start clearing.”


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