Aug 11, 2011 9:48 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Louisiana followed the national pattern in home foreclosures last month, seeing a sharp decline from both June and July 2010.
But foreclosure tracking firm RealtyTrac said that is not cheery news for housing markets. The Irvine, Calif.-based company said Thursday that delays on clearing out the stack of troubled housing loans would simply extend the current housing crisis.
In July, 1,704 Louisiana properties were targeted for some sort of foreclosure action. Those ranged from an initial notice of default to repossession by a lender.
But most of the Louisiana actions were either the end or close to the end for troubled homeowners: 637 properties were seized by lenders, while 761 received a final sale notice.
Louisiana ranked 27th in the country in foreclosure notices, with one in every 1,152 housing units targeted last month. Still, the count was down 17.7 percent from June and 22.6 percent from July 2010.
Nationally, foreclosure actions hit a 44-month low and posted their 10th consecutive monthly decline. U.S. foreclosures dropped 4 percent from June and 35 percent from July 2010. The June actions hit one in every 611 U.S. housing units.
Initially, foreclosure actions were slowed about a year ago when court challenges were launched to the legality of many foreclosure documents. RealtyTrac chief executive James Saccacio said that since then, government-led foreclosure prevention efforts - including loan modifications and lender-borrower mediations - have slowed the tide further.
Some lending institutions also have let up on foreclosure actions to keep from being swamped by distressed properties.
"The falloff in foreclosures is not based on a robust recovery in the housing market but on short-term interventions and delays that will extend the current housing market woes into 2012 and beyond," Saccacio said. "A stabilizing economy and improving job market are the long-term keys to a housing market recovery."
Nevada, California and Arizona posted the top state foreclosure rates last month, followed by Georgia, Utah, Florida, Michigan, Idaho, Illinois and Wisconsin, RealtyTrac said.
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