RealtyTrac: Foreclosure Activity Increased 2% In July

Foreclosure filings were reported on 130,888 U.S. properties in July, an increase of 2% from the 78-month low in June, but still down 32% from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac's Foreclosure Market Report.

About one in every 1,001 U.S. housing units was in some stage of foreclosure during the month, according to the report, which tracks default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

The monthly increase in foreclosure activity was driven by a 6% increase in foreclosure starts and a 4% monthly increase in bank repossessions (REO); however, both metrics are down considerably from a year ago.

Foreclosure starts increased in 26 states in July compared to June. States that saw the biggest increases for the month included Maryland (+275%), Oregon (+137%), New Jersey (+89%), Connecticut (+37%) and New York (+27%).

Bank repossessions increased in 29 states, including Arkansas (+266%), Oklahoma (+126%), Maryland (+101%), New York (+100%), Connecticut (+67%), New Jersey (+40%) and Ohio (+20%).

States with a judicial foreclosure process continue to see higher foreclosure rates, on average, because it takes longer in most judicial states to complete the foreclosure process. In these states, there are still many foreclosures in the pipeline, some of them initiated a year ago or more. Two of those top six states, however, posted decreasing foreclosure activity from a year ago: Ohio (-18%) and Illinois (-44%).

Some of the states that were hit hardest by the housing crisis have seen their foreclosure rates improve dramatically in recent months. Arizona, for example, is no longer in the top 10 for highest foreclosure rate, for the first time since February 2007. In addition, California was out of the top 10 for the sixth consecutive month in July, and Michigan was out of the top 10 for the fifth consecutive month.

Nine of the top 10 metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates in July were in Florida. Of those, five posted increasing foreclosure activity from a year ago.

States that saw the most foreclosure activity in July, compared to July 2012, included Baltimore (+182%), Miami (+58%), New York (+42%), Philadelphia (+11%) and Washington, D.C. (+5%).

"While foreclosures are continuing to boil over in a select group of markets where state legislation and court rulings kept a lid on foreclosure activity during the worst of the housing crisis, the foreclosure boil-over markets are becoming fewer and farther between as lenders have caught up with the backlog of delayed foreclosures in some of the states with the more lengthy judicial foreclosure process," says Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. "For example, Illinois foreclosure activity has now decreased on a year-over-year basis for eight consecutive months, following 11 straight months of annual increases, and Ohio has seen three consecutive months with annual decreases, following eight straight months with annual increases.’

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