The latest RealtyTrac research shows that U.S. foreclosure filings declined last month to levels not seen since before the housing bubble burst eight years ago.
Properties with a default, auction, or repossession notice totaled 107,194 in June -- a 16 percent drop from a year ago and the lowest volume since July 2006. RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist observes, "We've seen light at the end of the tunnel and foreclosures are more like a troublesome gnat than a mortal threat to the housing market." The firm projects that foreclosures will be initiated on a record-low 630,000 homes in 2014, down from 747,700 a year ago and from 2.1 million in the peak year of 2009.
On the downside, roughly four-fifths of lenders that tightened credit from 2007 to 2010 have yet to relax rules, the Federal Reserve's most recent quarterly survey shows. This, in turn, has shut some credible borrowers out of the housing market.