New foreclosures may be back to nearly normal, but the mess from the epic housing disaster in the last decade is far from gone. Bank repossessions, the final stage of the foreclosure process, jumped 66 percent year over year in the third quarter of this year, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure sales and analytics company. It’s the largest annual rise ever recorded in bank repossessions by RealtyTrac. More than 123,000 homes went back to the bank in just three months.

“In states such as New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York, a flood of deferred distress from the last housing crisis is finally spilling over the legislative and legal dams that have held back some foreclosure activity for years,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “That deferred distress often represents properties with deferred maintenance that will sell at more deeply discounted prices, creating a drag on overall home values.”

New York and New Jersey have the longest foreclosure timelines in the nation. In both states, foreclosures can take well more than three years. New Jersey has a formidable judicial process, as well as a strong voice in nonprofit housing activists working with distressed homeowners. Those combined to keep the foreclosure process at a snail’s pace, until now. Banks have finally reached a point where they can push foreclosures forward, having streamlined all the extra paces required by laws and court rulings.

“Additionally, more nonbank lenders who purchased nonperforming loans over the past couple years are moving forward with foreclosure, having passed the foreclosure moratorium of six to 12 months required by many of these purchase agreements,” said Blomquist.

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