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U.S. Foreclosures Index: October Foreclosures Drop Dramatically to Near 2008 Lows.

ForeclosureS.com Index Offers First Post-Election Look at October Trends

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Foreclosures fell for the second month in a row in October to nationwide lows not seen since last February, according to the latest U.S. Foreclosure Index from ForeclosureS.com.

In this first post-election look at foreclosure numbers, October pre-foreclosure filings -- which can include notice of default and/or foreclosure auction -- were off more than 10% from August's highs, and nearly 7% from September's numbers. October numbers were down in about half of the states in the U.S. Foreclosure Index.

Properties repossessed by lenders following foreclosure or REOs (bank-owned real estate) were down significantly in October, too -- off 22% from September's high to just 84,286 properties, the lowest monthly total since May, the U.S. Foreclosure Index shows.

Property information specialists ForeclosureS.com bases its U.S. Foreclosure Index and comprehensive analysis of pre-foreclosure and foreclosure proceedings nationwide on the number of formal notices filed against a property during the foreclosure process. That can include notice of default, notice of foreclosure auction, and/or notice of REO -- lender-owned real estate that occurs after a foreclosed property reverts back to the lender. (All pre-foreclosure filings do not end up in foreclosure).

"These latest foreclosure numbers are great news because pre-foreclosures are early signals of what's to come," says Alexis McGee, real estate expert, educator, president of ForeclosureS.com. "The nation's foreclosure free-fall may be subsiding. We still have a long way to go, and some of the recent numbers are skewed by lender programs for homeowners that delay rather than eliminate foreclosures. But gains as measured by drops in foreclosure numbers in the past two months reflect that efforts by lenders, banks, organizations, and government entities to work with strapped homeowners to avoid foreclosure are beginning to pay off."

McGee is author of The ForeclosureS.com Guide to Advanced Investing Techniques You Won't Learn Anywhere Else (Wiley), and The ForeclosureS.com Guide to Making Huge Profits Investing in Pre-foreclosures without Selling Your Soul (Wiley).

"Keep in mind, too, that though foreclosure is a coast-to-coast issue that affects tens of thousands of Americans every month, our analysis reveals that a huge chunk of the REO and pre-foreclosure filings are concentrated in certain states, and key metropolitan, and coastal areas," adds McGee. "Some are either hard-hit by recession and layoffs as in the case of the Detroit area, or are where property speculation, prices, and affordability spiraled seemingly out of control before the sub-prime debacle. The latter includes areas in California, Florida, and Nevada."

Almost one-third of the 1.76 million pre-foreclosure filings so far this year are in 10 counties out of the more than 1,300 nationwide included in the ForeclosureS.com database. Those counties include: Maricopa County, Arizona; Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties in California; Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Lee counties in Florida; Clark County, Nevada, and Cook County, Illinois.

More than 255,000 of the 828,670 completed foreclosures this year to date are in 10 counties, too, U.S. Foreclosure Index analysis shows. Those counties include Maricopa County, Arizona; Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Sacramento, and San Diego counties in California; Clark County, Nevada (including Las Vegas); Wayne County, Michigan (including Detroit); Harris County, Texas (including Houston), and Cook County, Illinois (Chicago).

Looking at nationwide foreclosures another way, based on the number of filings out of every 1,000 households, the clearest indication of trends, ForeclosureS.com reports:

* 11.5 out of every 1,000 households nationwide have been repossessed by lenders following foreclosure YTD based on REO filings. That's up 71.64% from the same time a year ago.

* 24.6 of every 1,000 have had to deal with pre-foreclosure filings YTD, up 71.53% from 2007 YTD.

"Foreclosures as part of the nation's broader economic crisis will likely be the first major issue President-elect Obama addresses when he takes office in January," adds McGee. "He has promised a 90-day freeze on foreclosures. But each state has its own regulations relating to foreclosures, so whether the promise will become reality is another question. Meanwhile, for the next close to three months, foreclosures and economic stimulus packages remain the purview and the problem of the Bush administration."

Government intervention in foreclosures could end up a moot issue, however, since some key banks and lenders already have recognized that keeping homeowners out of foreclosure is good business. Banks like the now FDIC-operated IndyMac, Bank of America (which acquired Countrywide), and most recently JPMorgan Chase already have pledged to cut monthly payments for many strapped borrowers by lowering interest rates and temporarily reducing home loan balances, adds McGee.

"Our foreclosure numbers, plus the National Association of Realtors recent Existing Home Sales and Pending Home Sales reports for the last two months show that housing markets may be stabilizing. You can't call a bottom with two months of data, but we are absolutely headed in the right direction," McGee said.

She continued, "Prices are low and current government backed mortgages are making homes more affordable than ever. Plus lenders are finally getting realistic and unloading REO's at cut-rate prices. The deals are happening. Whether you're a would-be homeowner or property investor now is a great time to buy discounted properties from motivated sellers."

With its data base of more than 5.5 million property listings, ForeclosureS.com has been the professional's source for accurate foreclosure property information for more than 20 years. For more information on ForeclosureS.com and its products, please visit www.foreclosures.com.
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