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Foreclosure filings slide to 6-year low in April

US home repossessions fell in March.
US home repossessions fell in March.
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U.S. foreclosure filings fell in April to the lowest level in more than six years – and New Mexico followed the downward trend – as inexpensive mortgages and rising demand for homes allowed troubled owners to refinance or sell before losing their properties.

A total of 144,790 properties received notices of default, auction or seizure, down 5 percent from March and 23 percent from a year earlier, RealtyTrac said Thursday. It was the lowest tally since February 2007, the Irvine, Calif.-based data seller said in a report. One in 905 households got a filing.

New Mexico reflected the national trend of homes somewhere in the foreclosure process dropping to a pre-mortgage meltdown level.

There were 325 homes in the process in April, down by 57 percent from 758 in the preceding March and by 45 percent from 590 in April 2012. April’s rate of foreclosure activity is roughly at the level of 2005.

Most significantly, RealtyTrac reported only eight homeowners statewide receiving notice that their homes were officially going into foreclosure, the lowest rate of monthly foreclosure starts in recent history.

While encouraging, the low rate of foreclosure starts will probably turn out to be a glitch.

New Mexico’s comparatively small housing stock, combined with the ebb and flow of foreclosure actions by a handful of major mortgage lenders, tends to make foreclosure activity extremely volatile from month to month.

Bank repossessions of homes numbered 236 in April, down from 301 in the preceding March but the fifth-highest monthly tally of repos since the beginning of 2011, according to RealtyTrac data.

Borrowing costs close to historic lows and an improving labor market have combined to aid the housing market, boosting prices and allowing distressed homeowners to rework loans or sell property for less than the amount owed, known as a short sale. U.S. home prices rose 10.5 percent in March from a year earlier, data provider CoreLogic said earlier this week.

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