Foreclosure.com Recognizes Spike in Sheriff Sale Cancellations

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Important finding could indicate that lenders and borrowers have ratcheted up cooperation to avoid foreclosure situations

But it's not all bad news. Sheriff sale cancellations have increased and will hopefully continue to do so as the market begins to correct. It's a small step in the right direction.

Foreclosure.com (http://www.foreclosure.com) today announced that it has detected a 30 percent increase in sheriff/trustee sale cancellations when it compared March 2009 data to figures from exactly one year ago, signaling that banks and lenders are having success resolving loan situations with distressed borrowers in default.

It's a positive sign that could mean more people are avoiding foreclosure and staying where they should be: In their homes.

"While not the smoking gun that the housing market is on the road to total recovery, it is good news nonetheless," said Foreclosure.com Vice President James Houston. "Being in the midst of a foreclosure situation is a very difficult place to be. And the fewer homeowners who have to experience it the better it is for everyone."

Foreclosure.com breaks down the foreclosure process into three simple steps: preforeclosures, sheriff/trustee sales and post foreclosures/REOs. Sheriff sales -- also known as trustee sales in states such as California that primarily observe non-judicial foreclosure laws -- are homes facing foreclosure that are scheduled to be put up for public auction.

These public auctions typically take place at county court houses or other public places such as libraries. It is often the last chance for a homeowner who has defaulted on his or her mortgage to cure the loan before it is either sold to a new buyer or repossessed by the bank/lender.

And the fact that sheriff sale cancellations are up means that distressed homeowners and their lenders are finding common ground.

"Refinances, loan modifications and short sales are all great options that can rescue cash-strapped homeowners from foreclosure situations," said Houston. "Most loss mitigation departments nationwide have been flooded with these types of requests. Now it appears that progress is being made … baby steps."

Houston also points to the recently introduced "Making Home Affordable" program, which is a federal program created to help millions of homeowners refinance or modify their Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages as a possible reason for the jump. The goal of the plan is as its name suggests -- make mortgages more affordable to short circuit the foreclosure process before it even happens.

There are five top reasons that people end up in foreclosure, including unemployment, Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs), illness, divorce and death. Houston indicates that these factors and all others have clearly contributed to the current foreclosure situation; however, unemployment and "balloon" mortgages are the primary culprits.

"It's a scary situation out there right now -- people are hunkering down and doing what they can to get by on a daily basis," said Houston. "But it's not all bad news. Sheriff sale cancellations have increased and will hopefully continue to do so as the market begins to correct. It's a small step in the right direction."

About Foreclosure.com
With more than 1.8 million foreclosure, preforeclosure, bankruptcy, FSBO, tax lien and sheriff sale listings in one place, Foreclosure.com delivers America's largest and most accurate searchable database of foreclosed homes and investment property information to its customers and business partners. Based in Boca Raton, Fla., Foreclosure.com works directly with hundreds of top lending institutions and government agencies to list diverse property types on its Web site, as well as features listings from an extensive network of corporate sellers. As a result, the company has been recognized by high profile media outlets and prestigious non-profit industry groups alike as the number one rated distressed property listing resource available anywhere. Foreclosure.com offers much more than just real estate listings, connecting sellers, buyers and agents in one convenient location as a one-stop real estate marketplace.

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THOMAS MYERS
Foreclosure.com
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