January was a record-setting month for the housing market but not in a good way. Although foreclosure filings were 18 percent lower than they were at the same time last year, they were up 8 percent during the month itself – which was the largest monthly increase in almost two years. According to foreclosure data collected by RealtyTrac, 1 out of every 1,058 homes filed for some kind of foreclosure. Properties that have begun the foreclosure process or have been scheduled for auction are what are known as foreclosure starts. It is these foreclosure starts that experts believe are the primary cause of the uptick in foreclosure activity and completions.
Despite the unfortunate nature of the news for the months of January, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to those who are in the know. It was somewhat expected that foreclosures would increase after a relatively inactive December. There are certain cities like Las Vegas, Chicago, and Akron where the down housing market has really taken a toll, as evidenced by the foreclosure activity seen in these cities in January. States like New Jersey saw the highest rate of foreclosure activity in nearly three and a half years, and in California foreclosure starts are up almost 60 percent from one year ago.
It is difficult to determine what the months ahead will bring in the housing market. Many expect that the foreclosure activity will decrease and possibly even reach pre-recession levels at some point during 2014. Considering what has gone on around the country over the last 12 months, however, it really is anyone’s guess.
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