The RealtyTrac April 2011 Foreclosure Market Report finds the number of foreclosure filings in the month dropped 9% compared to March and 34% from April 2010, largely due to delays in foreclosure processing.
The April decline marks the seventh straight month the total number of default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions decreased year-over-year, down to a 40-month low.
RealtyTrac executives reiterate, however, that the slowdown is not driven by a housing recovery lifting people out of foreclosure, but by the "massive delays in processing foreclosures" that indicate the recent housing market stagnation will persist.
Foreclosures completed in the first quarter of 2011 took an average of 400 days from the initial default notice to the REO status, up two full months from the 340 days reported in the first quarter of 2010 and more than double the average 151 days it took to foreclose in the first quarter of 2007.
The foreclosure process took much longer in states with more stringent foreclosure prevention legislation.
The average timeframe from initial default notice to REO in New Jersey and New York was over 900 days in the first quarter of 2011, more than three times the average timeline in the first quarter of 2007 for both states.
To a lesser effect the trend carries on in some of the top foreclosure states because of a combination of high delinquency rates and stringent state regulations.
The average foreclosure process in Florida lasted 619 days for foreclosures completed in the first quarter, up from 470 days in the first quarter of 2010 and nearly four times the average of 169 days it took in the first quarter of 2007.
In California processing took 330 days in the first quarter, up from 262 days in the first quarter of 2010 and more than double the average of 134 days in took in the first quarter of 2007.