Foreclosures on the Increase in Louisiana

October 15, 2010

More than 1,500 Louisiana homeowners saw their residences swept away by seizure during the third quarter of 2010, a national company that tracks foreclosures reported Oct. 14.

Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac said that in addition to 1,560 foreclosure sales, another 2,819 homeowners received a sale notice during the July-through-September period. A total of 5,269 foreclosure notices – ranging from an initial notice of default on a loan to actual repossession – were recorded in Louisiana.

One in every 357 Louisiana homes was hit by a foreclosure action during the third quarter, ranking the state 35th in the nation, RealtyTrac said.

Foreclosure filings in the state rose 7.9 percent from the second quarter and 32.2 percent from the third quarter of 2009.

RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio said he expected to see a dip in lender repossessions in the fourth quarter, not because of an improving economy, but because some major lenders have stopped foreclosures amid questions about documentation.

On Oct. 13, officials in 50 states and the District of Columbia launched a joint investigation into allegations that mortgage companies mishandled documents and broke laws in foreclosing on hundreds of thousands of homeowners.

The states’ attorneys general and bank regulators will examine whether mortgage company employees made false statements or prepared documents improperly. Employees of four large lenders have acknowledged in depositions that they signed off on foreclosure documents without reading them.

In September, according to RealtyTrac, foreclosure activity in Louisiana picked up sharply with 458 repossessions and 1,007 sale notices. There were a total of 2,020 foreclosure-related actions affecting 1 in every 932 homes. That was a 29.6 percent jump in August and a 22.5 percent increase from September 2009.

Louisiana ranked 31st in foreclosures last month after ranking 39th in August.

The highest foreclosure rates in the third quarter were recorded in Nevada, Arizona, Florida, California, Idaho, Utah, Georgia, Michigan, Illinois and Hawaii.

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