Home Foreclosure Rates on the Rise Again


June 14, 2012

U.S. home foreclosure filings increased 9 percent last month over April, according to a new report from RealtyTrac, an online marketplace that tracks foreclosures.

Foreclosure filings were reported on 205,990 homes in May — that’s one in every 639 homes nationwide. That’s about 4 percent lower than this time last year, but the rising monthly rates underscore how difficult it will be to restart the devastated housing market.

Foreclosures slowed last year amid a lawsuit filed by the federal government and state attorneys general against some of the nation’s biggest banks for abusive lending practices, according to the Associated Press. A $25 billion settlement was hashed out in February of this year, clearing the way for banks to take action against people who had defaulted on their payments.

Georgia, one of the states that saw a huge housing boom, posted the highest rate of foreclosures in the country last month, with filings on one in every 300 homes. Arizona, Florida and Illinois were close behind. RealtyTrac maps the foreclosure rate state-by-state below:

But in Georgia, at least, the bust might have been prevented. In Part One of our film Money, Power and Wall Street, we followed the outcry in Georgia, where many people had taken on mortgages with terms they didn’t understand, and couldn’t pay back. So in 2002, Roy Barnes, the governor at the time, passed the Fair Lending Act to crack down on high-cost loans — what was considered the toughest predatory lending law in the nation. But the mortgage lobby fought back. Watch what happened next:

You can watch all four hours of Money, Power and Wall Street online here.

Sarah Childress

Sarah Childress, Former Series Senior Editor, FRONTLINE

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