DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
U.S. home foreclosures jumped 63.5% to nearly 1 million homes in 2008 from a year earlier, according to foreclosure-listing service Foreclosures.com.
While President Alexis McGee called the figure "staggering, it was not unexpected," as the firm has been anticipating a 1-million figure since July.
"But there is good news - a variety of indicators show that some housing markets are bouncing back and we should see substantial improvement in 2009." McGee said, contending a recovery has already begun in areas such as hard-hit California.
McGee said her optimism for this year was driven by positive market indicators, including housing affordability thanks to drops in home prices, the growing U.S. population and what she called a coming housing shortage because many builders have postponed construction of new homes. That activity took its biggest tumble in 24 years during November, falling to a record low.
Completed foreclosures fell 9.2% in the fourth quarter from the prior quarter to 266,986, while all kinds of filings made during the foreclosure process dropped 2.4%. But the drops are in part due to various public and private efforts which have been undertaken in recent months to stem foreclosures, from increased loan modifications to moratoriums on removing borrowers from their homes.
The housing market has been slammed amid the global recession as prices plunge and foreclosures and inventories mount. Potential buyers are also having trouble selling existing homes and securing financing for a purchase because of the tight credit markets.
Foreclosure.com also said all foreclosure-related filings in 2008, which includes notice of default or foreclosure auction, jumped 62% to 2.1 million from 2007. On a per-household basis, Nevada tops the list with 49.9 filings for every 1,000 households in the state.
RealtyTrac, another firm that monitors U.S. foreclosure filings, is due to release its December and full-year data on foreclosure filings Thursday.
-By Kerry E. Grace, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-5089; firstname.lastname@example.org
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 14, 2009 06:51 ET (11:51 GMT)
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