US Home Repossessions Drop By A Quarter In A Year

In a clear sign that the US property market is recovering, figures show that the number of repossessions has fallen by nearly a quarter in the past 12 months.

According to property analysts CoreLogic, in the year to November 2012,  55,000 homes were repossessions in the US, down from 72,000 the year before –a drop of 23%.

California saw the highest number of repossessions with 102,000, closely followed by Florida with 94,000.

The worst five states – which also include Michigan with 75,000, Texas on 58,000 and Georgia with 52,000 – made up half of all US repossessions.

In stark contrast, CoreLogic says the state with the least repossessions was South Dakota with just 10.

Housing market recovering

A spokesman for the firm said: “The fall is a positive and is in the right direction though we have a long way to go before we get back to the historic norms.

“These repossessions lead to distressed sales and it is noticeable that the housing market has an ongoing ability to absorb these.”

He explained the figures were an indicator the housing market was recovering.

“And the downward trend in repossessions in the past year is another signal that there is a recovery in the US housing market,” he said.

The firm’s data also reveals which states have the highest percentage of homes repossessed.

Florida is worst with 10.4% of all mortgaged homes under foreclosure – the US term for repossession. The next worst were New Jersey with 7.3%, and then New York on 5.1%.

The states having the least number of homes repossessed as a percentage of the total number of mortgaged properties were Wyoming with 0.4%, followed by Alaska and North Dakota, both with 0.7%.

1.2m homes face foreclosure

Before the property market crashed in 2007, the US saw repossession average 21,000 every month between 2000 and 2006.

Since the financial crises in 2008, around 4 million people have lost their homes to foreclosure.

Currently, 1.2 million homes or around 3% of the total, face repossession.

Month-on-month that number is down by 3.5%, but over a year the number of properties to be repossessed has dropped by 18%.

One factor for the drop is that ‘short sale’ of homes is becoming increasingly popular as the mortgage provider sells the home before full repossession takes place.

Other recent statistics on the US home market show there is slightly growing buyer demand and that nationally house prices are to post their first annual gain since 2006 – and set to rise still further in 2013.