Charlotte foreclosure filings dropped to their lowest level in more than four years in July, in a decline that primarily stemmed from fewer auction notifications.
That’s according to foreclosure data firm RealtyTrac, which said the number of filings – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – fell 48 percent from a year ago, to 593 from 1,150. Notices announcing auctions plummeted to 121 from 659.
Daren Blomquist, vice president of Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac, said that in late 2006, before the recession, the average number of filings per month in Charlotte was 747. Filings in July were 21 percent below that figure, hitting a 52-month low, he said.
Blomquist said the improving U.S. housing market, in which prices are rising, is helping lower foreclosure activity.
“Some of these homeowners who are in trouble now have an escape hatch to either sell their homes or more easily get refinanced,” avoiding a foreclosure auction, he said.
Nationwide, homeowners are doing a better job of paying their mortgage loans than during the depths of the recession. For most of the U.S., mortgage loan delinquencies and foreclosures are back to more normal levels, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Last week, the association said the delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one- to four-unit residential properties fell to a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.9 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the second quarter. It was the lowest level since the middle of 2008. The association’s delinquency rate includes loans for which at least one payment is overdue, not loans in the foreclosure process.
RealtyTrac said Charlotte’s year-over-year decrease in filings was bigger than the 32 percent national decline. There were 130,888 U.S. properties with filings in July, down from 191,925.
Out of 20 large metro areas, five reported higher foreclosure activity from a year ago: Baltimore, up 182 percent; Miami, 58 percent; New York , 42 percent; Philadelphia, 11 percent; and Washington, D.C., 5 percent.
Also, while U.S. filings increased 2 percent nationwide from June, when they hit a 78-month low, they fell 30 percent in Charlotte.
In the Charlotte region, Union County had the largest year-over-year percentage decline in filings, which fell 90 percent. There were 10 filings in the county, down from 98.
Since the recession began, the only other times when filings dipped to prerecession levels in Charlotte was February and March of 2009, when foreclosure activity also sagged nationwide, Blomquist said.
During the downturn, the peak for foreclosure activity in Charlotte was August 2009, when there were 2,141 properties with filings, he said.
Roberts: 704-358-5248; Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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