‘Tis the Season for Foreclosures

Last month, the state attorneys general and the nation’s biggest mortgage lenders reaching a $25 billion settlement over the industry’s alleged foreclosure abuses. It appears that the banks are now addressing the backlog of homes with mortgages that had gone unpaid during the process of reaching that settlement.

The Associated Press reported on March 15, 2012, that the foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said that foreclosure activity increased across 26 states where courts supervise the process, while 24 states where the courts do not play a role in the process saw activity decline. WTOP-FM reported that the number of foreclosures in Maryland in February rose 28 percent from the month before and were 22 percent higher from a year ago.

In terms of default notices—the first step in the foreclosure process—Maryland posted the second-largest annual increase in the nation, with a 157 percent spike in default notices, according to the AP. Hawaii had the largest annual increase at 321 percent.

“We’re not just seeing an increase in properties starting the foreclosure process, as we have in previous months, but we’re starting to see dramatic increases in properties completing the foreclosure process in many of those judicial foreclosure states,” Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac, told the AP. “At the end of the day in 2012, we are going to see an increase in foreclosures nationally from 2011.”

As this activity increases, my firm is sure to see a similar increase in clients seeking foreclosure help through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Over the rest of the week, I will address what the effects of that $25 billion settlement may be and what other options homeowners facing foreclosure still have.

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