U.S. foreclosure filings fell in April to the lowest level in more than six years as inexpensive mortgages and rising demand for homes allowed troubled owners to refinance or sell before losing their properties to lenders.
Home repossessions in the U.S. plunged 29 percent last month from a year earlier to the lowest level since 2007 amid increased efforts by state lawmakers and courts to delay property seizures, according to RealtyTrac.
The New York metropolitan area had the biggest jump in foreclosure filings among top U.S. markets in the third quarter as lenders began to work through a backlog in a region where seizing properties takes the longest.
U.S. foreclosure filings fell 28 percent last month from a year earlier to the lowest level since April 2007, as a new California law slowed first-time defaults in the most-populous state, according to RealtyTrac.
Short sales of U.S. homes, where the price is less than the amount owed, outnumbered foreclosure deals in the fourth quarter as lenders accelerated efforts to dispose of troubled properties, according to RealtyTrac.
Short sales of U.S. homes rose to a three-year high in the first quarter as banks agreed to let more borrowers unload property at a loss, putting the transactions on pace to surpass deals for foreclosures, RealtyTrac Inc. said.
Home seizures in the U.S. rose 5.4 percent last month, the first annual gain in two years, as lenders seek to manage the flow of distressed properties without disrupting the housing recovery, according to RealtyTrac.
Foreclosure filings rose in almost 60 percent of large U.S. cities in the first half of 2012, indicating many areas will have more distressed homes on the market later this year, RealtyTrac Inc. reported.