BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Foreclosure filings in Idaho dropped 54.5 percent in the first half of 2012.

RealtyTrac, which tracks foreclosures, reported that foreclosure filings nationally fell 10.6 percent in the first six months of the year.

Jessie Hamilton, general counsel for Pioneer Title, said lenders are modifying more Idaho loans instead of foreclosing. He also said many lenders delayed foreclosures after an Idaho law took effect Sept. 1 requiring lenders to better inform borrowers about their options. Another factor, he noted, is that more short sales are going through. A short sale is where the lender agrees to take less than the borrower owes.

Mike Mooney, president of Bank of the Cascades Idaho Region, said a short sale gets the loan off a lender's books faster than a foreclosure and is less expensive. The foreclosure sale process "takes longer, and you have uncertainty about price, and also commission and other expenses," Mooney told the Idaho Business Review ( ).

Mike Pennington, of John L. Scott Real Estate in Boise, said distressed properties have been selling in Ada and Canyon counties.

In 2011, distressed properties were 57.3 percent of resale inventory in Ada County and 73.6 percent in Canyon County. In the first half of 2012, distressed properties were 36.7 percent of resale inventory in Ada County and 56.6 percent in Canyon County.

Charlie Nate, who heads the foreclosure tracking company Idaho Data Providers, said the June 2012 total of foreclosure starts in Ada and Canyon counties was close to the June 2008 numbers.

Foreclosure starts peaked in March 2010 at 597 and have been falling since then, Nate said.


Information from: Idaho Business Review ,