LOS ANGELES — More US homes started down the foreclosure path in July as lenders tackled a backlog of unpaid mortgages, even as they pulled back on repossessions.
The number of initial notices of default — the first step in the process — increased 6 percent compared to the same month last year, RealtyTrac said. Filings of initial default notices have increased on an annual basis for three months in a row.
Banks are working to make up for time lost last year as the mortgage industry grappled with allegations it had processed foreclosures without verifying documents.
On average, 104,000 homes have entered foreclosure each month going back to May. That’s well below the 178,000-per-month average in 2009, the year with the highest monthly average, RealtyTrac said. Banks took back 21 percent fewer homes last month than in July 2011. Repossessions were down 1 percent from June.