US foreclosures declining slightly

Slightly encouraging news from our neighbours south of the border. May showed that the number of foreclosures filed had decreased by 3 per cent compared to April’s figures.

Topping the list for the 41st month in a row is Nevada where one in every 79 houses received a foreclosure filing, followed by Arizona (one in every 169 households), Florida (one/174), California (one/186), Michigan, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Utah and Maryland.

According to the U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released by California-based RealtyTrac, a total of 322,920 houses received filing in May, meaning that one in every 400 houses received an auction notice. Compared to April, where a total of 333,837 households received auction notice.

Though the filings have exceeded 300,000 for the 15th straight month, the foreclosure rate has receded over the past few months.

“The numbers in May continued and confirmed the trends we noticed in April: overall foreclosure activity is leveling off while lenders work through the backlog of distressed properties that have built up over the past 20 months,” stated James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

Despite the overall unemployment rate declining, from 9.9 per cent in April to 9.7 per cent in May, the fall was mainly through so-called “discouraged workers” leaving the job market. And while the headline figure of a net 431,000 jobs created during May looks like solid growth, the vast bulk of those jobs came from temporary hiring related to the US census, which alone added 411,000 jobs.

We are yet to see a longterm US employment recovery which will have the obvious positive repercussions on the US housing market. At the moment, it’s still very weak but oak trees do grow from acorns.

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