Foreclosure filings up 75 percent in 2007

According to data from Irvine, Calif.-based real estate research firm RealtyTrac, 2007 was a tough year for many more homeowners than in 2006. The number of homes in some state of foreclosure was 79 percent higher in 2007 than in 2006, and the number of foreclosure filings -- about 2.2 million nationwide -- was 75 percent higher year-over-year.

“The year ended with a monthly [foreclosure filings] increase of 7 percent in December,” said James Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac. He said the higher rate of homes in “some stage” of foreclosure indicates some homes “could be going through the rest of the foreclosure process in 2007 -- unless lender and government intervention efforts begin to gain more traction.”

The states with the top annual foreclosure rates included Nevada, with 3.4 percent of the state’s households entering some stage of foreclosure in the year. In Florida, more than 2 percent of households entered foreclosure, and Michigan saw 1.9 percent of households enter foreclosure. Those states, followed by California, Colorado, Ohio, Georgia, Arizona, Illinois and Indiana, all posted foreclosure rates in the nation’s top 10 in 2007, the report said.

Some states with the highest increases in foreclosure filings in 2007 included California (up 238 percent); Florida (up 124 percent); Arizona (up 151 percent); and Nevada (up 215.1 percent). Delaware; Washington, D.C.; and Rhode Island also saw large increases in foreclosure filings.

Some states, however, saw fewer foreclosure filings in 2007, including Oklahoma (down 12.8 percent); South Carolina (down 27.6 percent); Texas (down 4.57 percent); New Mexico (down 26.04 percent); and Pennsylvania (down 11.07 percent).

While Congress is weighing a plan to help homeowners who are facing foreclosure, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced today it has been investigating a number of subprime lenders. The FBI is looking into fraud and insider trading allegations at 14 mortgage companies. The FBI is working in conjunction with the Securities and Exchange Commission on the investigation, which started in the spring and is characterized as a “wide-ranging probe.”

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