Foreclosure filings nationwide fell for the 22nd straight month in July.
But a spike in *new* foreclosures indicates the housing market still has a long way to go before it works through its backlog of problem loans.
The industry is trying to find ways to keep families in their homes as the recession continues.
The federal government has cut a deal with the nation's five biggest mortgage banks, laying out how lenders can make amends for years of abusing the foreclosure process.
That may help somewhere down the line, but possibly not for someone facing the loss of a home in the immediate future.
Since banks don't want a foreclosure, many are offering on-line help.
CITI-MORTGAGE VIDEO "We just recently were ranked number one in home affordable modification programs...designed to keep people in their homes...rather than foreclose on them."
Citi-Bank now has a program which would allow a foreclosure to continue, but offer to lease the house back to the former owner at a lower monthly rate.
SHEILA SHIPLEY, BROKER, REMAX "There have been a few isolated ones that have gone to the rental ...From the foreclosure...its not here in Chattanooga yet..but it is coming."
The Chattanooga area did not get hammered by the housing crisis like other parts of the country, but many have lost homes through foreclosure.
RICHARD SMITH, STEARNS MORTGAGE "Once it gets to the point where its going to enter into foreclosure, I don't think you can do anything with it..I don't think there's a solution to that."
Richard Smith says although every case is different, families facing foreclosure during this recession should consider letting it happen.
RICHARD SMITH "Its a tough thing, sometimes you just take the foreclosure and get yourself repaired over the next 3 years..to buy again..because you can."
Part of the economic recovery is an increase in home sales.
For those who are looking to buy, the experts have this advice.
SHEILA SHIPLEY, BROKER "I set my people up with the expectation that I know the contracts say 30 days...but I'm saying expect 45-55 days."
Contrary to popular belief, down-payments on homes can range from zero to 20%.
The actual amount would depend on which government or mortgage program you can qualify for.