By David M. Kinchen Huntingtonnews.net Real Estate Writer
 REALTYTRAC: Foreclosure filings reported on a record 2,871,891 U.S. Houses in 2010


Five states --California,  Florida, Arizona,  Illinois and Michigan -- accounted for 51 percent of the  nation’s total foreclosure activity in 2010:


Foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions -- were reported  on a record 2,871,891 U.S. properties in  2010, an increase of nearly 2 percent from 2009 and an increase of 23 percent  from 2008, according to a report released Thursday, Jan. 13 by  RealtyTrac   (www.realtytrac.com),   which said a total of 3,825,637 filings were reported.




The report also shows that 2.23 percent of all U.S. housing units  (one in 45) received at least one foreclosure filing during the year, up from  2.21 percent in 2009, 1.84 percent in 2008, 1.03 percent in 2007 and 0.58  percent in 2006.




“Total properties receiving foreclosure filings would have easily  exceeded 3 million in 2010 had it not been for the fourth quarter drop in  foreclosure activity — triggered primarily by the continuing controversy  surrounding foreclosure documentation and procedures that prompted many major  lenders to temporarily halt some foreclosure proceedings,” said James J.  Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, Irvine, CA. “Even so, 2010 foreclosure  activity still hit a record high for our report, and many of the foreclosure  proceedings that were stopped in late 2010 — which we estimate may be as high  as a quarter million — will likely be re-started and add to the numbers in  early 2011.”




Foreclosure filings were reported on 257,747 U.S. properties in December, a  decrease of nearly 2 percent from the previous month and down 26 percent from  December 2009 — the biggest annual drop in foreclosure activity since  RealtyTrac began publishing its foreclosure report in January 2005 and giving  December the lowest monthly total since June 2008.





December default notices (NOD, LIS) decreased 4 percent from the previous month and were  down 35 percent from December 2009; scheduled foreclosure auctions (NTS, NFS) decreased 3 percent from the previous month  and were down 20 percent from December 2009; and bank repossessions (REO)  increased nearly 4 percent from the previous month — thanks in part to  substantial month-over-month increases in some states such as Nevada (71  percent increase), Arizona (52 percent increase) and California (47 percent  increase) —  but were still down 24  percent from December 2009.




Foreclosure filings were reported on 799,064 U.S. properties in the fourth  quarter, a 14 percent decrease from the previous quarter and an 8 percent  decrease from the fourth quarter of 2009. The fourth quarter total was the  lowest quarterly total since Q4 2008.



More than 9 percent of Nevada dwelling units -- one in 11 --  received at least one foreclosure filing in 2010, giving it  the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the fourth consecutive year  despite a 5 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from 2009. Nevada foreclosure  activity in December increased 18 percent from the previous month and was up 14  percent from December 2009. Fourth quarter foreclosure activity in Nevada decreased nearly  7 percent from the previous quarter but increased 19 percent from the fourth  quarter of 2009.




Arizona registered the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate for the second  year in a row, with 5.73 percent of its housing units (one in 17) receiving at  least one foreclosure filing in 2010, and Florida registered  the nation’s third highest foreclosure rate, with 5.51 percent of its housing  units (one in 18) receiving at least one foreclosure filing during the year.




Other states with 2010 foreclosure rates  ranking among the nation’s 10 highest were California (4.08 percent), Utah  (3.44 percent), Georgia (3.25 percent), Michigan (3.00 percent), Idaho (2.98  percent), Illinois (2.87 percent), and Colorado (2.51 percent).

Five states accounted for 51 percent of the  nation’s total foreclosure activity in 2010: California,  Florida, Arizona,  Illinois and Michigan. Together these five states  documented nearly 1.5 million properties receiving a foreclosure filing during  the year despite annual decreases in the three states with the most foreclosure  activity.




A total of 546,669 California properties  received a foreclosure filing in 2010, a decrease of nearly 14 percent from 2009  but still the largest state total. After hitting a two-year low in November, California foreclosure  activity rebounded nearly 15 percent higher in December but was still down 18  percent from December 2009.




Florida posted the nation’s second biggest total in 2010,  with 485,286 properties receiving a foreclosure filing — a 6 percent decrease  from 2009. Florida  foreclosure activity in December hit the lowest monthly level since July 2007,  down 22 percent from the previous month and down nearly 54 percent from  December 2009.




A total of 155,878 Arizona properties received a foreclosure  filing in 2010, a  4 percent decrease from 2009 but the third biggest state total for the third  straight year. Arizona  foreclosure activity in December jumped nearly 31 percent higher from a  32-month low in November, but was still down nearly 33 percent from December  2009.




Illinois posted  the fourth biggest state total, with 151,304 properties receiving a foreclosure  filing in 2010, and Michigan posted  the fifth biggest state total, with 135,874 properties receiving a foreclosure  filing during the year. Foreclosure activity in both states increased about 15  percent from 2009.
Other states with 2010 totals among the 10  biggest in the country were Georgia  (130,966), Texas (118,923), Ohio  (108,160), Nevada (106,160), and New Jersey (64,808).