In what many view as an encouraging sign that the nation's worst foreclosure days are a distant memory, fewer distressed property filings took place in the month of April.
According to real estate information firm RealtyTrac, approximately 144,800 default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions took place last month. From March, that's a decrease of 5 percent and when contrasted with the same month in 2012, the overall foreclosure rate fell by 23 percent. In fact, not since February 2007 have filings been this low.
Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, indicated that with one in every 905 housing units logging a foreclosure filing it's clear that the "pig is moving through the python" with regards to deferred foreclosures finally going through the process. However, he cautioned that foreclosures have increased in judicial states.
But also boding favorably for the overall housing market is the relatively few number of foreclosure starts there were in April. Overall, approximately 70,100 homeowners filed the necessary paperwork to begin the foreclosure process last month, 4 percent lower than March and 28 percent lower than one year ago at the same time.
Foreclosure starts higher in nearly half of U.S.
There is still evidence, however, that foreclosures continue to be a weight on the real estate market and will be so for at least the short-term. RealtyTrac reports that despite the overall decline in starts, 22 states saw more of them in April on a year-over-year basis, primarily in New Jersey, where they increased by 138 percent, by 46 percent in Connecticut, 37 percent in Texas, 35 percent in Georgia and 16 percent in Oregon.
As for the state with the highest foreclosure rate, Nevada posted the highest level for the second month in a row, even though their was a decline of 15 percent from March, the report reveals.
One of the advantages of purchasing a foreclosed home is that it the asking price is typically much less, which is ideal for homeowners who have limited financial means. However, before prospective homebuyers put money down on a foreclosure, they would be wise to have a home inspection done if one hasn't been done in several years.
Brion Grant, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, told Popular Mechanics magazine that a foreclosed home should be checked for traditional structural soundness, but also for specific conditions, such as mold development, evidence of vandalism or a break-in, portions of the property that have been stolen by the former owners, signs of infestation from rodents or other animals of the wild, as well as neglected maintenance.