The number of U.S. foreclosure actions by banks fell in June as investigations into repossession and mortgage servicing practices continued to slow the country's foreclosure machinery, a real estate firm reported.
Banks filed actions against 222,740 U.S. properties in June, a 29% decrease from the same month a year earlier. That marked the ninth consecutive month that foreclosure actions — notices of default, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — fell on a year-over-year basis, according to RealtyTrac of Irvine. June's tally represented an increase of nearly 4% compared with May.
Analysts attribute the annual declines to major banks slowing their processes as they try to negotiate a settlement with state and federal regulators over their repossession practices.
"The delays are going to push this problem out, I am afraid, now, for a couple years, which is really not good news for the housing market," said Rick Sharga, a RealtyTrac senior vice president. "If you look at the number of delinquent loans and the current rate of foreclosure activity, you have another three to four years before the backlog gets cleared up."