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Home auctions, repossessions up in Charlotte area

foreclosureMecklenburg County and the Charlotte metro area saw increases in scheduled auctions and bank repossessions on foreclosed properties last month, according to real estate information and analytics provider RealtyTrac.

Bank repossessions in the county rose to 103 last month from 94 in March 2014. Notices of anticipated auctions were delivered on 184 properties, up 4.5 percent from 176 a year ago.

The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia area followed suit, with bank repossessions rising nearly 50 percent to 241 from 161 in March 2014. Properties slated to go on the auction block rose slightly to 352 from 350 in the same period.

Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, said it’s important to note that in many states, there have been tie-ups in auctions and repossessions that are just now being sorted through.

North Carolina, for example, has been susceptible to delayed foreclosures compared with some states, because of its “quasi-judicial” process for reclaiming properties. Foreclosures in North Carolina must go through the courts when there are title problems. In such cases the lender must file a lawsuit against the borrower.

Out-of-court, or nonjudicial proceedings, occur more quickly, as a clause in the mortgage or deed of trust empowers the bank to sell the property if the homeowner defaults.

In North Carolina, the number of properties that reverted to lender ownership more than doubled to 1,133 from 510 in March 2014. There were 1,185 homes scheduled for auction last month, up from 863 a year ago.

Meanwhile, data indicates that more homeowners in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord region were in default on their mortgages last month than a year earlier, although RealtyTrac cautioned that local figures on default notices may not be precise due to changes in June in the company’s data collection vendor.

On a national level, 50,760 properties were scheduled for auction, up slightly from 50,658 in March 2014. Repossessions grew 25 percent last month to 36,152 from 28,840 a year ago. The number of homes taken over by lenders hit a peak in September 2010, when banks took over 102,134 properties.

“The 17-month high in bank repossessions in March corresponds to a 17-month high in scheduled foreclosures auctions in October,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “The March increase is continued cleanup of distress still lingering from the previous housing crisis; not the beginning of a new crisis by any means. Some of most stubborn foreclosure cases are finally being flushed out of the foreclosure pipeline, and we would expect to see more noise in the numbers over the next few months as national foreclosure activity makes its way back to more stable patterns by the end of this year.”

All told, 53,514 U.S. homes entered the foreclosure process in March, according to RealtyTrac. That represents a 3.9 percent drop in foreclosure starts from the previous 12-month period.

In North Carolina, one in every 1,131 homes was in foreclosure last month, compared with one in every 1,082 nationally.

In the Charlotte metro area, the rate was one in every 901 homes, while in Mecklenburg County it was higher, at one in every 751.

Florida had the highest foreclosure rate last month, at one in every 446 homes, followed by Illinois, one in every 453, and New Jersey, one in every 508.

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