Real estate market is picking up, but foreclosures expected to surge

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio – April 5, 2012 – Even as real estate sales are picking up across most of the country, a painful second act of the housing slump looks set to unfold: Many more U.S. homeowners face the prospect of losing their homes this year as banks pick up the pace of foreclosures.

“We are right back where we were two years ago. I would put money on 2012 being a bigger year for foreclosures than 2010,” said Mark Seifert, executive director of Empowering & Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP), a counseling group with 10 offices in Ohio. “Last year was an anomaly, and not in a good way.”

In 2011, the “robo-signing” scandal, in which foreclosure documents were signed without properly reviewing individual cases, prompted banks to hold back on new foreclosures pending a settlement.

Five major banks eventually struck that settlement with 49 states in February. Signs are growing that the pace of foreclosures is picking up again, something housing experts predict will again weigh on home prices before any sustained recovery can occur.

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