By Leisa Zigman
St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - RealtyTrac reports foreclosure filings in the St. Louis metro area increased more than 28 percent in April compared to one year ago. Yet, nationwide the foreclosure rates dropped 14%. Bloomberg reports St. Louis metro now has one of the fastest growing foreclosure problems in the nation among large cities.
Here is a look inside the RealtyTrac numbers:
Jefferson County: 1 in every 617 homes in foreclosure
St. Charles County: 1 in every 621 homes in foreclosure
City of St. Louis: 1 in every 659 homes in foreclosure
St. Louis County: 1 in every 594 homes in foreclosure (highest in region)
St. Clair County, IL: 1 in every 836 homes in foreclosure
Madison County, IL: 1 in every 623 homes in foreclosure
Debi Kiper is a Real-estate broker with RE/MAX who specializes in selling distressed homes. She says the spike is not entirely related to the economy.
"In mid-February the gates opened up," Kiper said.
In February, the federal government reached a $25 billion settlement with five major banks over the so called, robo-signing foreclosure scandal. Homes that were sitting in limbo are now being released and flooding onto the market.
Kiper said unlike years passed this time around the homes are selling.
"We recently had a foreclosure and we received 15 contracts. There were 15 buyers competing and it went for $30,000 over what it had been listed," she said.
Last year at this time, Kiper says she sold nine to ten homes a month. Last month she sold 32 homes.
According to William R. Emmons, an Assistant Vice President and Economist with Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, "It appears to me that the main factor driving up St. Louis-area foreclosure activity relative to other Midwest metro areas is on the Illinois side of the river." Mr. Emmons continued, "In the St. Louis area and across the country, there remain elevated levels of distressed mortgages in many areas. The backlog of delayed foreclosures related to "robo-signing" and other slowdowns now is breaking loose."
"St. Clair, Madison, and Jersey have higher foreclosure inventories than in St. Louis City or St. Louis County. Thus, these Illinois counties are contributing disporportionately to St. Louis metro-area foreclosure rates," he said.
According to RealtyTrac, the highest foreclosure rate for the month of April is in Chicago followed by Miami and Phoenix.
Check out more RealtyTrac data here.