Foreclosure process taking longer, report says

Due to the recent high unemployment figures, and the mounting debt problems plaguing many consumers, the number of homes in the foreclosure process continues to increase.

As a result of this growing burden on the housing market, homeowners are now spending more time in their homes before eviction, according to a new report by Lender Processing Services.

Foreclosed homeowners are now an average of 507 days late on their mortgage payments, up 25 percent from the 406 days observed at the end of 2009. The report found this was caused by an increase in the number of new starts and the high number of homes currently on the market that have yet to be sold auction.

“The sheer volume of loans going through the system is going to extend those timelines,” said Herb Blecher, senior vice president for analytics at Lender Processing.

Florida, Nevada and Mississippi were found to have the highest delinquency rates. By comparison, consumers in California, Florida and Maryland were more likely to wait longer to receive an eviction notice than homeowners in other states.

Still, some economists believe the number of foreclosures may climb by as much as 20 percent this year, as banks attempt to increase their seizures now that recent restrictions have been lifted.