NYT: Foreclosures Slow As Flaws Emerge - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

NYT: Foreclosures Slow As Flaws Emerge

NEW YORK - The foreclosure machinery that has forced millions of Americans out of their homes is beginning to seize up as some lenders and their lawyers are accused of cutting corners in their pursuit of rapid home repossessions.

Evictions are expected to slow sharply, housing analysts said, as state and national law enforcement officials shine a light on questionable foreclosure methods revealed by two of the country's biggest home lenders in the last two weeks.

Even lenders with no known problems are expected to approach defaulting homeowners more cautiously and look more aggressively for resolutions short of outright eviction.

Despite the turmoil, some economists said the breakdown could ultimately lay the groundwork for a real estate recovery.

Stricken neighborhoods across the country, for example, could benefit. One big factor undermining home sales is fear of a large number of foreclosed homes coming to the market. If the foreclosures are delayed or never happen, housing prices might find a floor.

"Maybe this is like shock therapy," said the economist Karl E. Case. "Maybe this will actually get the lenders to the table and encourage them to work out deals that are to the benefit of everybody."

While such a happy ending is possible, the near term is more likely to produce paralysis and confusion.

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