RealyTrac has released their monthly foreclosure statistics. 

The headline commentary:

“The numbers in May continued and confirmed the trends we noticed in April: overall foreclosure activity leveling off while lenders work through the backlog of distressed properties that have built up over the past 20 months,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Defaults and scheduled auctions combined increased by 28 percent from 2007 to 2008 and another 32 percent from 2008 to 2009 — creating a build-up of delayed bank repossessions. Lenders appear to be ramping up the pace of completing those forestalled foreclosures even while the inflow of delinquencies into the foreclosure process has slowed.”

But also mentioned:

Bank repossessions (REOs) hit a record monthly high for the second month in a row in May, with a total of 93,777 U.S. properties repossessed by lenders during the month — an increase of 1 percent from the previous month and an increase of 44 percent from May 2009. All 50 states posted year-over-year increases in REO activity.

Whenever there’s time, I like to review economic reports myself.  The nuance is often hidden beneath the headlines.  In this case, delinquicy notices are down to recent lows.  That’s the start of the foreclosure process.  Interpreting that data is more troublesome.  Does it imply that the crisis is abating, or merely that banks already have more foreclosed properties than they can deal with?

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