Mortgage foreclosure notices are going out so fast that in some states the number of new foreclosure proceedings each month is greater than the number of homes sold that month.
The foreclosure problem appears to be greatest in the West, particularly in Nevada, where home prices soared in the housing boom and are now falling rapidly.
Worries about foreclosures have led to a variety of legislative proposals in Washington and in state capitals, as well as to a voluntary plan organized by the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., that seeks to delay foreclosures while homeowners and lenders try to work out agreements. But so far, no consensus has emerged on legislation, and the volume of foreclosure notices continues to rise.
During January, it was reported this week by RealtyTrac, there were 153,745 initial foreclosure notices sent out in the United States. That dwarfed the 43,000 total sales of newly built single-family homes and amounted to nearly half the total sales figure, which includes sales of existing homes and condominiums.
In the West, however, the picture was much worse.