2010 Had Record 2.9 Million Foreclosures

2.9 million properties received foreclosure filings.

ByABC News
January 12, 2011, 5:25 PM

Jan. 13, 2011 — -- In 2010, 2.9 million properties received foreclosure filings -- an increase of 2 percent from 2009 and 23 percent from 2008, according to data from the website RealtryTrac.

The figures would have been worse, if not for a surprising decrease in foreclosures toward the end of 2010. December saw a 30-month low of foreclosures, with filings on 257,747 properties, a drop of 26 percent from the previous year. That was the biggest annual drop in foreclosure activity since RealtyTrac first published foreclosure data in January 2005.

"Total properties receiving foreclosure filings would have easily exceeded 3 million in 2010 had it not been for the fourth quarter drop in foreclosure activity," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, in a statement. Some economists point to the year's high unemployment levels as a contributing factor to foreclosures.

Saccacio said the decrease in foreclosures in the fourth quarter was in part due to the controversy that started in the fall over foreclosure procedures. He said many major lenders temporarily halted some foreclosures.

Earlier this month, the highest court in Massachusetts ruled against U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo, invalidating two mortgage foreclosure sales because the banks did not prove they owned the mortgages at the time of foreclosure.

Rick Sharga, senior vice president of RealtyTrac, said it is possible that foreclosure figures could be even higher. RealtyTrac collected its data from over 2,200 counties, accounting for about 92 percent of the nation's population. The figures incorporate the most recent filing from all three phases of foreclosure: default, auction, and real estate owned properties that have been foreclosed on and repurchased by a bank.