Augusta bucks trend

Foreclosure activity in the Augusta area declined 33 percent from March to April, according to online foreclosure marketplace RealtyTrac.


In the six-county Augusta metro area, 262 foreclosures were filed in April, down from 396 in March but higher than the 251 in April 2008.

According to RealtyTrac, Georgia remained one of the top 10 states in foreclosure rate with 11,521 filings in April, a rate of one foreclosure for every 344 households.

The number of national foreclosure filings -- default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- was 1 percent higher in April. Nationally, 342,038 properties went into foreclosure.

"Much of this activity is at the initial stages of foreclosure -- the default and auction stages -- while bank repossessions, or REOs, were down on a monthly and annual basis to their lowest level since March 2008," said James Saccacio, the chief executive officer of California-based RealtyTrac. "This suggests that many lenders and servicers are beginning foreclosure proceedings on delinquent loans that had been delayed by legislative and industry moratoria. It's likely that we'll see a corresponding spike in REOs as these loans move through the foreclosure process over the next few months."


Home prices: Prices fell in nearly nine out of every 10 U.S. cities in the first quarter of the year as first-time buyers looking for bargains dominated the market.

The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that median sales prices of existing homes declined in 134 out of 152 metropolitan areas compared with the same period a year ago. Prices rose in the other 18 cities.

Nationwide, sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties made up about half of the market. Overall, sales dipped 6.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

Home sales fell in all but six states - Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida, Virginia and Minnesota, where buyers have been able to snap up foreclosures at a deep discount. Sales more than doubled in Nevada, rose 81 percent in California and grew 50 percent in Arizona - signaling that the worst might be over for those distressed states.

"We are finally beginning to see the seeds of a bottoming" in housing, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said at the Realtors' midyear conference in Washington, though he cited the massive inventory of unsold properties as a big concern.

Foreclosures: The number of U.S. households faced with losing their homes to foreclosure jumped 32 percent in April compared with the same month last year, with Nevada, Florida and California showing the highest rates, according to data released today.

One in every 374 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing last month, the highest monthly rate since foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. began its report in January 2005.

April was the second consecutive month with more than 300,000 households receiving a foreclosure filing, but the April number was less than 1 percent above that posted in March . The March data were up 17 percent from February and 46 percent from a year earlier.

The number of repossessions by banks was at its lowest level since March 2008, but RealtyTrac said that number is likely to increase in coming months.

- Associated Press



First-quarter median sales price for a home in the U.S., a 13.8 percent drop from the same period in 2008


Overall decrease in home sales in the first quarter from 2008 to 2009


Households that received at least one foreclosure notice in April


Homes repossessed in April

Sources: National Association of Realtors, RealtyTrac Inc.