Foreclosure sales fell across the Western states in October amid foreclosure suspensions by some lenders, according to a report by foreclosure data company ForeclosureRadar.

ForeclosureRadar’s monthly reports cover California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The reports break down foreclosure filings and inventories by state, county, city and ZIP code.

Some lenders in ForeclosureRadar’s coverage area, namely Ally (GMAC), PNC Financial and Bank of America, announced national foreclosure freezes in early October, the company said, though Ally resumed foreclosure sales on Oct. 18.

Sean O’Toole, ForeclosureRadar’s CEO and founder, expects the long-term impact of suspensions on the Western markets to be "minimal."

He said he is now seeing an emerging scam perpetrated on homeowners. "Much like the cottage industry of loan modification consultants that took up-front fees and provided little in return, we are now seeing consultants promising to overturn foreclosure sales, despite (a lack of) experience in actually doing so." 

In California, notice of default filings fell 25.5 percent year-over-year in October, to 27,217, dropping the overall inventory of preforeclosure homes 6.6 percent year-over-year, to 144,000. Notices of sale fell 29 percent year-over-year, to 27,375. Homes scheduled for sale overall fell 21.4 percent, to 117,000.

Cancellations rose 47.3 percent compared to October 2009, to 12,897, while falling 15.5 percent from September.

The number of homes repossessed by lenders fell 33.6 percent compared to October 2009, to 10,612. That’s also a 29.9 percent month-to-month drop from September. The number of homes sold at auction to a third party also fell, to 2,161 — a decrease of 45.2 percent year-over-year and 26.4 percent month-to-month.

Nevertheless, overall bank-owned (REO) inventory in California rose 16.5 percent year-over-year and 1.5 percent from September.

Foreclosure time frames in the Golden State continued to rise compared to the same period last year. An average of 279 days passed between the filing of a notice of default and a sale at auction, up from 211 days in October 2009. An additional 210 days passed on average between the sale at auction and when the bank resold the property, up from 183 days.

When a third party resold the property, the time to resell averaged 143 days, up from 97 days.

In Nevada, notices of default fell 20.7 percent year-over-year, to 6,109. At the same time, preforeclosure inventory fell 16.2 percent year-over-year, to 32,327. Notices of sale rose 36.8 percent year-over-year, though they fell 24.8 percent compared to September, to 5,297. Overall inventory of homes scheduled for sale rose 9 percent compared to October 2009, to 13,230.

Foreclosure cancellations fell 28 percent compared to October 2009, to 2,029. The number of homes that went back to the bank fell 29 percent year-over-year and 35.6 percent month-to-month, to 2,034.

The number of homes sold to a third party fell 40.3 percent year-over-year and 41.5 percent month-to-month in October, to 364. Overall REO inventory rose 4.4 percent year-over-year and 0.6 percent month-to-month.

In Arizona, notices of sale fell 15 percent compared to October 2009, to 9,436. Overall inventory of homes scheduled for sale at auction fell 0.81 percent, to 57,844. There was no data available for notices of default in either Arizona or Washington.

Cancellations in Arizona rose 9.9 percent year-over-year, to 3,927, though they fell 4.3 percent month-to-month. Homes repossessed by lenders fell 4.7 percent year-over-year and 27 percent month-to-month, to 4,041, in that state.

Auction sales to third parties fell 19.2 percent year-over-year and 26.5 percent month-to-month, to 804. Month-to-month, overall REO inventory remained essentially flat, but rose 55.9 percent year-over-year, to 33,112.

In Washington, though homes receiving notices of sale only rose 1.8 percent compared to September, they rose a whopping 96.8 percent compared to October 2009, to 3,897. That jump contributed to a 37.9 percent rise in the total inventory of homes scheduled for auction, to 15,856.

Cancellations rose 1.5 percent year-over-year and 50 percent month-to-month, to 2,384.

Of the five states covered by ForeclosureRadar, only Washington and Oregon saw more homes repossessed by lenders in October compared to the same time last year.

In Washington, 1,668 homes went back to the bank, an 11.6 percent year-over-year increase, though a 10.6 percent month-to-month drop. Homes sold to third parties fell 25.5 percent year-over-year, to 178. Overall REO inventory rose 58.8 percent year-over-year and 6.7 percent month-to-month in Washington, to 11,454.

In Oregon, notices of default rose 11.3 percent year-over-year, to 1,871. They fell 14.8 percent month-to-month. Overall preforeclosure inventory rose 38.6 percent compared to October 2009, to 8,077. Notices of sale fell 14.8 percent year-over-year, though overall inventory of homes scheduled for auction rose 19.4 percent.

Foreclosure cancellations rose 20.5 percent year-over-year, but fell 15.8 percent month-to-month. Fewer homes were sold either back to lenders or to third parties compared to September.

Sales back to the bank fell 38.2 percent, to 569, while sales to third parties fell 36.5 percent, to 33. Sales back to the bank rose 9.2 percent on a year-over-year basis, however, and helped push overall REO inventory up 63.3 percent compared to October 2009.

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