RealtyTrac: Foreclosure Filings Fell 3% In 2015

RealtyTrac's Year-End 2015 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report shows just how much the U.S. housing market has healed during the past year.

A total of 569,835 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in 2015, a decrease of 11% compared with 2014 and a decrease of 73% compared with the peak of more than 2.1 million foreclosure starts in 2009, according to the firm.

It was the lowest annual number of foreclosure starts in 10 years.

However, foreclosure starts increased in 16 states during the year, including Oklahoma (up 92%), Massachusetts (up 67%), Missouri (up 28%), Virginia (up 23%), Nevada (up 14%) and Arkansas (up 14%).

Bank repossessions, on the other hand, increased dramatically in 2015, as lenders cleared out their pipelines of distressed properties: A total of 449,900 U.S. properties were repossessed by lenders – an increase of 38% compared with 2014 but a decrease of 57% compared with the peak of nearly 1.1 million bank repossessions in 2010.

Bank repossessions increased from a year ago in 41 states and the District of Columbia. Some of the biggest increases were in New Jersey (up 226%), New York (up 194%), Texas (up 115%), North Carolina (up 108%) and Oregon (up 96%).

Despite the increase in bank repossessions, total foreclosure activity was down for the year. According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings – including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – were reported on 1,083,572 U.S. properties in 2015 – a decrease of 3% compared with 2014 and a decrease of 62% from the peak of 2,871,891 properties with foreclosure filings in 2010.

The total of nearly 1.1 million properties with foreclosure filings in 2015 was the lowest since 2006, when there were 717,522 properties with foreclosure filings nationwide, the firm reports.

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