Bank Foreclosure List Numbers in Texas Muddled by Repostings

by Peter Vernon on States

Bank foreclosure list numbers in Texas are muddled by repeat postings by mortgage lenders, according to analysts working for an Addison-based real estate research firm.

Analysts explained that repostings by lenders happen because of difficulties in the processing of loan modification applications or short sales.

The research firm reported that properties involved in lender repostings this year comprised 44 percent of all foreclosure actions filed this year in 19 counties in Texas. In Bexar County, total foreclosure filings this year dropped from about 15,000 units to about 8,700 units after the repostings were excluded from the counts.

Realtors also explained that loan modification efforts and short sale processes take a long time, so repeat postings for a large portion of distressed properties happen. They also contend that the high number of repeat postings show that a lot of troubled homeowners in Texas have been trying to save their homes from foreclosure.

Out of almost 100,000 foreclosure postings in 2009 in 19 Texas counties tracked by the research firm, a total of 44,000 were repeat postings.

Meanwhile, Jim Gaines, a real estate researcher and economist at Texas A&M University, told reporters that mortgage banks in Texas have not been stepping up loan modification efforts in order to eliminate repeat postings. Bank foreclosure list numbers would be more accurate if loan modifications are carried out more efficiently in a shorter time frame.

Gaines also expressed doubts about significant improvements in the foreclosure situation in Texas if the major factors for mortgage defaults such as unemployment and decline in home values are not resolved. He added that levels of foreclosure filings would just climb up or down in the coming months in small percentages.

The 19 counties surveyed by the Addison firm were Bexar, Comal, Dallas, Guadalupe, Tarrant, Denton, Collin, Grayson, Rockwall, Ellis, Kaufman, Parker, Johnson, McLennan, Hays, Bell, Williamson, Travis and Bastrop.

In these counties, overall foreclosure postings increased by only 4 percent between the year 2008 and year 2009 when repostings were not included in the analysis. In two counties – Denton and Dallas, foreclosure filings even dropped when the repostings were removed and excluded from the counts. Foreclosure filings in all the other counties increased.

This year, in contrast to the relatively small 19-county increase rate, foreclosure postings rose in Bexar County by 22 percent and increased in Guadalupe County by 30 percent, pushing bank foreclosure list numbers to higher levels.

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