According to RealtyTrac’s September data, 131,232 U.S. properties reported a foreclosure filing—default notice, scheduled auction, or bank repossession—which is down 2% from the previous month and a 27% decrease compared to a year ago.
Foreclosure activity in September was lower on a yearly basis in 33 states, but spiked prominently in Maryland (up 230%), Nevada (97%), Connecticut (69%), New Jersey (55%), Pennsylvania (34%) and New York (22%).
“In a healthy housing market foreclosures are rare but streamlined while still protecting the rights of the homeowner,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “While foreclosures are clearly becoming fewer and farther between in most markets, the increasing time it takes to foreclose is holding back a more robust and sustainable recovery.”
Due to the continued drop in September foreclosures, overall third-quarter activity fell to its lowest quarterly total since 2Q07. The Irvine, Calif.-based analytic firm said 376,931 housing units filed for foreclosure in the third quarter, down quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year by 7% and 29%, respectively.
During the quarter, one in every 348 housing units had a foreclosure filing, RealtyTrac reported. The average time to complete a foreclosure rose to 551 days.
Furthermore, foreclosure starts for the third quarter were at a seven-year low as 174,366 properties began the default foreclosure process. There were 38 states in which foreclosure starts decreased from a year ago, including Colorado, Arizona, California, Illinois and Florida.
Conversely, lenders initiated a higher amount of foreclosures in 11 states during the third quarter compared to last year, with some stagnant changes seen in Maryland (up 259%), Oregon (252%), New Jersey (53%), Connecticut (52%), Nevada (36%) and New York (25%).
Also, RealtyTrac noted that bank repossessions in 3Q13 were down 24% on an annual basis, but were up 7% from the second quarter as 119,485 properties were reclaimed by lenders.
“The sharp jumps in foreclosure activity in some local markets demonstrate that while millions of distressed homeowners have been pulled back from the precipice by foreclosure prevention programs over the past several years, once those programs expire or are exhausted, a percentage of these troubled homeowners are still susceptible to falling into foreclosure,” Blomquist added. “In addition even slight economic downturns at the local or regional level can push these homeowners hanging by a thread over the edge.”