Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Banks seized a record 288,345 homes in the third quarter

U.S. homeownership rate was unchanged at a 10-year low in the third quarter as banks stepped up property seizures from borrowers who defaulted on mortgages, Bloomberg News reported today. The homeownership rate was 66.9 percent, matching the second-quarter level, which was the lowest since 1999, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report today. The homeowner vacancy rate, or the share of properties vacant and for sale, was unchanged at 2.5 percent, according to the report. Banks seized a record 288,345 homes in the third quarter, up 22 percent from a year earlier, according to an Oct. 14 report from RealtyTrac Inc. in Irvine, Calif. There were 18.8 million vacant homes in the third quarter, including foreclosures, residences for sale and vacation homes, down from 18.9 million in the second quarter, according to today’s Census report.