REALTYTRAC: Foreclosure Activity Down 4 Percent in February to Lowest Level Since July 2006; U.S. Foreclosure Activity on Track to Return to Pre-Crisis Levels by End of 2015

REALTYTRAC: Foreclosure Activity Down 4 Percent in February to Lowest Level Since July 2006; U.S. Foreclosure Activity on Track to Return to Pre-Crisis Levels by End of 2015

 Irvine, CA-based  RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com), the nation’s leading source for comprehensive housing data, on Thursday, March 19, 2015  released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for February 2015, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 101,938 U.S. properties in February, a decrease of 4 percent from revised January numbers and down 9 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since July 2006.

The report also shows a U.S. foreclosure rate of one in every 1,295 housing units with a foreclosure filing in February.

“Given that August 2006 was the peak of the housing bubble, this eight-and-a-half year low in foreclosure activity is a significant milestone and a sign that nationwide foreclosure activity is on track to return to historic norms this year — and is possibly even headed below historic norms given the skinny-jeans-tight lending standards over the past five years,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

“In markets where foreclosures were processed more efficiently we are seeing foreclosure numbers now below pre-crisis levels in some cases. Conversely, the cleanup of deferred distress is continuing in markets where a logjam of in-limbo foreclosures is still lingering from the housing crisis — as evidenced by rebounding foreclosure activity in those markets.”

Despite the national decrease from a year ago, 24 states posted a year-over-year increase in overall foreclosure activity, including Massachusetts (up 53 percent; fifth consecutive month with an increase) and New York (up 19 percent; sixth consecutive month with an increase).

22 states post annual increase in foreclosure starts

Nationwide, 48,079 properties started the foreclosure process for the first time in February, down 5 percent from revised January numbers and down 7 percent from a year ago.
Despite the national decrease in foreclosure starts, 23 states posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts, including Nevada (up 153 percent; fourth consecutive month with an increase), Massachusetts (up 116 percent; 11th consecutive month with an increase), and Texas (up 5 percent; five out of last six months with increase).

25 states post annual increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions

Nationwide, 45,880 properties were scheduled for a future foreclosure auction in February, down 13 percent from revised January numbers and down 4 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since July 2006.

Despite the national decrease in scheduled foreclosure auctions — which can act as the foreclosure start in some states — 25 states posted a year-over-year increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions, including New York (up 146 percent; ninth consecutive month with an increase), Massachusetts (up 88 percent; third consecutive month with an increase), New Jersey (up 38 percent; 15th consecutive month with an increase), and Washington (up 17 percent; five out of last seven months with an increase).

15 states post annual increase in REOs

Nationwide, 24,305 properties were repossessed by lenders via foreclosure (REO) in February, up 9 percent from revised January numbers but down 20 percent from a year ago. February was the 27th consecutive month where REOs nationwide decreased on an annual basis.

Despite the national decrease in REOs compared to a year ago, 15 states posted year-over-year increases in REOs, including Maryland (up 70 percent; fifth consecutive month with an increase), New York (up 24 percent; four out of last five months with an increase), Ohio (up 23 percent; third consecutive month with an increase), and North Carolina (up 18 percent; three out of last four months with an increase).

Maryland, Nevada, Florida post highest state foreclosure rates

Maryland foreclosure activity decreased 1 percent compared to a year ago in February, but the state still posted the nation’s highest foreclosure rate: one in every 564 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

Nevada foreclosure activity in February increased 12 percent from a year ago driven primarily by a spike in foreclosure starts, and the state’s foreclosure rate was second highest in the nation for the second month in a row. One in every 569 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month.

Florida posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate — one in every 570 housing units with a foreclosure filing — despite a 35 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from a year ago.

Other states with foreclosure rates among the top 10 highest nationwide in February were Indiana (one in every 871 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Idaho (one in every 877 housing units), New Jersey (one in every 895 housing units), Illinois (one in every 906 housing units), Delaware (one in every 957 housing units), Ohio (one in every 1,000 housing units), and North Carolina (one in every 1,088 housing units).

Special methodology note: The U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for February 2015 includes revised numbers for January 2015 and also includes new coverage areas that were not covered in previous months thanks to a strategic initiative over the past year on the part of the RealtyTrac data acquisition team to expand coverage of foreclosure and other publicly recorded real estate data.

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