Foreclosures increase nationally in January

Foreclosure activity in the U.S. housing market increased 1 percent in January, according to a new report from mortgage analytics company RealtyTrac.

Despite the month-to-month increase, there were many positive signs that this rate could soon decline, the company indicated in its U.S. Foreclosure Market report.

Notices of Default, the first stage of the foreclosure process, hit their lowest level in years. In addition, final stage foreclosures fell 11 percent in states where the judicial system has stepped in to modify mortgages; though, this was balanced by a 23 percent increase in areas without such consumer protections.

“The worst thing that could happen for the housing market in terms of a recovery is that this procedural issue becomes more and more pronounced, and we have a longer drag out of processing foreclosures,” Mark Hanson, a mortgage consultant, told CNBC.

In total, more than 75,000 U.S. homes received default notices during the month of January. This marked a 27 percent year-over-year decrease, according to the report.

However, the data confirms that despite the fact that consumers continued to make responsible payments to credit card lenders in recent months, many are still struggling with their mortgages.

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