Foreclosures continue to plague housing market

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Foreclosures continued to plague the U.S. housing market last quarter, while a a growing backlog has caused the length of the foreclosure process to drag on and on.

Nationwide, foreclosure filings totaled 610,337 in the third quarter, an increase of less than 1% from the previous quarter, said RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosed properties.

Even though the increase was small, it is significant since it broke the trend of three consecutive quarterly decreases, said RealtyTrac Chief Executive James Saccacio.

“This marginal increase in overall foreclosure activity was fueled by a 14% jump in new default notices, indicating that lenders are cautiously throwing more wood into the foreclosure fireplace after spending months spent trying to clear the chimney of sloppily filed foreclosures,” he said.

Month-over-month, there were fewer foreclosures. Nationwide filings totaled 214,855 in September, a decrease of 6% from August and a 38% decrease from September, 2010.

“While foreclosure activity in September and the third quarter continued to register well below levels from a year ago, there is evidence that this temporary downward trend is about to change direction, with foreclosure activity slowly beginning to ramp back up,” said Saccacio.

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