Thanks in part to continued high unemployment, home foreclosures reached record levels in 2010. (Watch a CNBC report about foreclosure numbers.) Industry experts say 2011 could be even worse if unemployment remains "stubbornly high." "The bleakest year in foreclosure crisis has only just begun," says Janna Herron at the Associated Press. Here, a brief guide, by the numbers, to the foreclosure mess (all numbers courtesy of RealtyTrac, unless otherwise noted):
Properties seized by banks in 2010, according to real estate data company RealtyTrac. It was the first time the number has topped 1 million.
Foreclosure filings, which include repossessions, auctions, and default notices, in 2010. That number "would have easily exceeded 3 million," says RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio, but the pace of filings slowed in the last three months of the year, when many lenders temporarily halted controversial foreclosure proceedings.
Estimated number of foreclosures that were delayed due to state and federal investigations into the foreclosure proceedings of lenders and banks
Increase in foreclosure filings from 2009 to 2010
Increase in foreclosure filings from 2008 to 2010
Just over 100,000
Houses taken over by banks in 2005, before the housing market bust
States — Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, and Michigan — that accounted for half of all foreclosure activity last year
1 in 11
Nevada housing units involved in at least one foreclosure filing in 2010, more than quadruple the national average of 1 in 45
Decrease in Nevada foreclosure filings from 2009
Increase in North Carolina foreclosure filings from 2009. While the "usual suspects... like Nevada, California, Florida, and Arizona all saw fewer foreclosure filings in 2010 than in 2009," says Daniel Indiviglio in The Atlantic, "the big increases occurred in other states like North Carolina, Hawaii, South Carolina, and Washington."
1 in 105
North Carolina housing units to receive at least one foreclosure filing in 2010
Approximately 5 million
Number of borrowers currently at least two months behind on their mortgage payments
Number of homes that RealtyTrac predicts will be repossessed this year. "2011 is going to be the peak," says Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at the company
National unemployment rate, as of December 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "The U.S. is still not creating employment fast enough to quickly replace the 8.4 million jobs lost during the recession and the unemployment rate may stay above 9 percent for a third straight year in 2011," says Shobhana Chandra at Bloomberg.