Foreclosure Filings Up 81% in 2008

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And it’s set to get worst before it gets better.

From WSJ:

WASHINGTON — More than 2.3 million American homeowners faced foreclosure proceedings last year, an 81% increase from 2007, with the worst yet to come as consumers grapple with layoffs, shrinking investment portfolios and falling home prices.

Nationwide, more than 860,000 properties were actually repossessed by lenders, more than double the 2007 level, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing firm based in Irvine, Calif., which compiled the figures.

Moody’s, a research firm, predicts the number of homes lost to foreclosure is likely to rise by another 18% this year before tapering off slightly through 2011.

Still, foreclosures — which keep breaking records going back 30 years, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association — are likely to remain well above normal levels for years to come, and that will continue to keep home prices from rebounding.

The current legislation we’re hearing about that will allow homeowners to renegotiate the value of their mortgage will help some, but that’ll take at least 6 to 9 months to really get moving…and people will have to miss payments in order to take advantage of that. That won’t seem very fair to most Americans, so I wonder if they can even pass it.

More as it develops…