Foreclosures down, but remain a lingering issue for many

At the height of the Great Recession, a massive wave of foreclosures swept over the entire nation, sparing no region from an onslaught of underwater borrowers and long-stagnant real estate listings that dragged the economy into ever-deeper depths. Lately, however, the tide seems to be receding, as far fewer homeowners are experiencing foreclosure filings than they were just a few years ago, but serious problems still persist in some corners of the United States.

For instance, the total number of foreclosure filings last month, according to industry analytics group RealtyTrac, was 133,919, a 2 percent increase from the month before, but a 28 percent decrease from a year ago. However, those foreclosures that are in a judicial state – filings that require court approval before going to auction – were up year-over-year for the 16th consecutive month in October, accounting for 30,023 of the total share of foreclosures.

"Lenders are likely moving these properties more rapidly to the public auction given that there is strong demand from institutional buy-to-rent investors at the auction and that rising home prices mean more of the loan losses can be recouped, either by selling to an investor at the auction or by repossessing the property and reselling as bank owned," Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said in a press release for the company's latest Housing Market Index for October. He added that this increase can be attributed to a backlog of filings from either last year or earlier in 2013 that got held up in court, though the fact that judicial foreclosures persist shows that the market is hardly back from the brink.

Real estate investment can be risky, which is why individuals need to continually look into taking steps toward asset protection so that they can make sure their retirement funds are preserved no matter what the mood of the real estate market.