Foreclosure filings – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – were reported on 932,234 properties in the first quarter – a 7% increase from the previous quarter and a 16% increase from the first quarter of 2009, according to RealtyTrac.
The data provider also reports that 367,056 properties received filings in March – a nearly 19% increase from February and the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its reports in January 2005.
‘Foreclosure activity in the first quarter of 2010 followed a very similar pattern to what we saw in the first quarter of 2009: a shallow trough in January and February followed by a substantial spike in March," says James J. Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac. "One difference, however, is that the increases were more tilted toward the final stage of foreclosure, with REOs increasing nine percent on a quarterly basis in the first quarter of 2010 compared to a 13 percent quarterly decrease in REOs in the first quarter of 2009.
"This subtle shift in the numbers pushed REOs to the highest quarterly total we've ever seen in our report and may be further evidence that lenders are starting to make a dent in the backlog of distressed inventory that has built up over the last year as foreclosure-prevention programs and processing delays slowed down the normal foreclosure timeline," he continues.
During the first quarter, a total of 304,799 properties received default notices (i.e., notices of default and lis pendens) – an increase of 1% from the previous quarter but down 1% from the first quarter of 2009. Default notices were down nearly 11% from a peak of more than 342,000 in the third quarter of 2009.
Foreclosure auctions were scheduled for the first time on a total of 369,491 properties during the quarter – the highest quarterly total for scheduled auctions in the history of the report. Scheduled auctions increased 12% from the previous quarter and were up 21% from the first quarter of 2009.
Bank repossessions also hit a record high for the report in the first quarter, with a total of 257,944 properties repossessed by the lender during the quarter – an increase of 9% from the previous quarter and an increase of 35% from the first quarter of 2009.
As it has done for the past 13 quarters, Nevada continued to document the nation's highest state foreclosure rate in the first quarter of 2010. One in every 33 Nevada housing units received a foreclosure filing during the quarter – more than four times the national average and an increase of nearly 15% from the previous quarter. Still, Nevada's total of 34,557 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in the first quarter was down 16% from the first quarter of 2009.
Arizona foreclosure activity in the first quarter increased on a quarterly and annual basis, leading the state to post the nation's second-highest state foreclosure rate for the third consecutive quarter. One in every 49 Arizona properties received a foreclosure filing during the quarter – nearly three times the national average.
With one in every 57 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the quarter, Florida posted the nation's third-highest state foreclosure rate for the second straight quarter. The state's first-quarter foreclosure activity increased on a quarterly and annual basis.
California foreclosure activity decreased 6% from the first quarter of 2009, but the state still documented the nation's fourth-highest foreclosure rate – one in every 62 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.
Utah foreclosure activity increased 75% from the first quarter of 2009 – the highest annual increase among states with top-10 foreclosure rates and giving it the nation's fifth-highest state foreclosure rate. Foreclosure filings were reported on 10,756 Utah properties – a rate of one in every 88 housing units and an increase of 21% from the previous quarter.