The LA Times has a fascinating story about the decline in foreclosures. The lead para: “Increased scrutiny of how lenders foreclose on Americans has dragged the repossession process out to unprecedented lengths, driving down the pace at which banks are taking back homes.” While the paper does not necessarily regard this as a good thing (the article appears under Real Estate after all), with the paper worrying that this will only delay the needed and inevitable cleaning our of inventory, the statistics are dramatic:
Foreclosure filings— notices of default, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — dropped 9% in April from March and plunged 34% from April 2010 as 219,258 U.S. properties received new filings in April. The number of bank repossessions fell 5% from the prior month and 25% from April 2010, with lenders taking back 69,532 U.S. properties.
It would appear that the many developments in state after state, including particularly the focus on lack of required paperwork, is having a major impact in slowing down the system.
I do not necessarily agree that delaying this process is a bad thing. For many, foreclosure delayed is homelessness denied. Moreover, it may well be that the defects in many foreclosures are not technical and, after all, one person’s technicality is another person’s injustice.
Can we please use this opportunity to take a longer and better look at the whole consumer/financial industry, and the role of courts in its de facto regulation or non-regulation. The fact that so many of these cases have been going forward without lawyers just highlights the inadequacy of the system — and the consequences for the economic system of these failures.