Foreclosures are taking longer to complete, with the average time it takes a lender to repossess a home jumping to 477 days in the first quarter of this year compared to 414 days in the fourth quarter of 2012, RealtyTrac reported in its March foreclosure report.
That represents the longest average foreclosure timeline that RealtyTrac has ever recorded.
The longer timelines are being blamed on recent legislation enacted in several states, such as California, Oregon, and Massachusetts.
The five largest lenders also have slowed down many foreclosures following the new servicing standards that were outlined in the National Mortgage Settlement, said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
As the timelines expand, foreclosures continue to subside, dropping to its lowest level in March since September 2007. Foreclosure filings – which include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions – are down 23 percent from a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac.
“Although the overall national foreclosure trend continues to head lower, late-blooming foreclosures are bolting higher in some local markets where aggressive foreclosure prevention efforts in previous years are wearing off,” said Blomquist.
“Meanwhile, more recent foreclosure prevention efforts in other states have drastically increased the average time to foreclose, which could result in a similar outbreak of delayed foreclosures down the road in those states.”