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Lenders repossessed fewer homes in 2012 than in the previous year, pursuing alternatives to foreclosures following government mortgage settlements with large U.S. banks and harsher state laws.
RealtyTrac’s year-end Foreclosure Market Report for 2012 showed that foreclosure filings, including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions, were made on a total of 1.8 million properties last year, down 3 percent from 2011 and more than 36 percent from a 2010 peak of 2.9 million properties.
Since 2010, when courts determined that banks had violated foreclosure laws, the rate of foreclosures has been on the decline. As TheStreet reported, the moratorium on foreclosure activity that followed the ruling and the new servicing standards that were set in place after the five largest mortgage lenders in the United States — including JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), and Citigroup (NYSE:C) — settled with the federal government in early 2012 made it more difficult for banks to foreclose…
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