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From The Warren Group:

The number of foreclosure deeds more than doubled in March when compared to the same month the year before, hitting their highest mark since 2005, according to The Warren Group, parent company of Banker & Tradesman.

Foreclosure deeds rose 140.1 percent in March when compared to March 2007. There were 1,167 deeds this year, compared to 486 in March 2007. There were also 35.7 percent more foreclosure deeds in March 2008 than in February 2008, when there were 860.

Meanwhile, a mortgage loan analyst has examined the numbers and found troubling statistics.

Paul Jackson, of Housing Wire, looks at today’s lousy foreclosure-prevention efforts and says that the problem lies in plain sight: Fraud was rampant during the go-go years, and dishonest borrowers aren’t seeking relief for fear that they’ll land in trouble.

Jackson read the same report that I commented on yesterday — the one from the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group — and focused on a different facet of the problem. He notes that, of the subprime mortgages that are about a year away from their first rate reset, 28.5 percent are already delinquent.

“That sort of failure only happens when you’re talking about rampant, across the board, pervasive fraud — fraud that is as hopelessly intertwined with the borrower who didn’t know or care what terms came with their mortgage as it is with the lender who decided to make the loan because investors were willing to buy it,” Jackson writes.

He adds that this is why so many borrowers aren’t trying to get workouts such as rate freezes. “What incentive do they have? Offering strong and credible proof that they were party to mortgage fraud?”

I don’t know if I’d go that far.

I believe it wasn’t “fraud” so much as “hopeful expectations”. At least, here in Massachusetts. Buyers figured they’d give owning their best shot. When they couldn’t keep up with the loan payments after several months, they stopped paying. Then, the banks stepped in to clean up. As simple as that.

Source: Viewpoint: Finding Fraud, and What it Really Means for Loss Mitigation – By Paul Jackson, Housing Wire, by way of Mortgage Matters, Holden Lewis,

Also: Mass. Foreclosure Deeds Peak In March – Banker & Tradesman

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