MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

January foreclosures up 57% - Feb. 26, 2008

January foreclosures up 57% - Feb. 26, 2008

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Foreclosure filings nationwide soared 57% in January over the same month last year - another indication that the nation's housing woes are deepening.

A study released Tuesday by RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosure properties, showed that 233,001 homes were affected, 8% more than in December. Of that total, 45,327 homes were lost to bank repossessions.

The only good news was the comparatively modest month-to-month increase in total filings.

"It could be that some of the efforts on the part of lenders and the government - both at the state and federal level - are beginning to take effect," said James Saccacio, RealtyTrac's chief executive.

"The big question is whether those efforts are truly helping homeowners avoid foreclosure in the long term, or if they are just forestalling the inevitable for many beleaguered borrowers," he said.

Many mortgage-assistance efforts simply give borrowers a chance to pay off missed payments, rather than lowering monthly payments, which effectively just delays foreclosures.

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