The number of homes foreclosed and seized by American banks has hit a record high as US authorities launch a probe into foreclosure fraud allegations.
A record number of 102,134 US homes were repossessed by banks in September, the first time bank repossessions have surpassed the 100,000 mark in a single month, the Los Angeles Times cited a report released by Irvine-based research firm RealtyTrac on Thursday as saying.
"It is almost a certainty that we will see over a million over the course of the year, and that would definitely be a record," Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac senior vice president, said. "It's serious, but it doesn't appear to be that these levels will crater the housing market if the economy at least stabilizes and we do start to see some job creation."
The spike in foreclosures come at a time when attorney generals of all 50 US states have announced a joint investigation into alleged forgery by banks and mortgage companies.
One in every 139 US housing units received a foreclosure filing during the third quarter. Bank repossessions also hit a record high in the quarter, with a total of 288,345 properties being repossessed by lenders, an increase of seven percent from the previous quarter and an increase of 22 percent from the third quarter of 2009. Mortgage lenders had repossessed more than 95,000 homes in August.
US bank repossessions increased 38 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period a year earlier for a record total of 269,952, according to Irvine research firm RealtyTrac.
Official figures indicate that more than three million foreclosures are expected to take place in the United States in 2010 with 80 percent of them having documentation problems.
Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and GMAC have announced the suspension of tens of thousands of foreclosure processes across the country due to apparent improper handling of documents.