Due to a 6% increase in foreclosure starts and a 4% monthly uptick in the number of properties taken over by banks, the number of U.S. properties filing for foreclosure inched up 2% from the 78-month low in June, but were still down 32% compared to a year ago.
There were 130,888 housing units that recorded a foreclosure filing—default notice, scheduled auction and bank repossession—in July.
U.S. foreclosure activity in July is 64% below the peak of more than 367,000 properties with filings in March 2010, but is still 54% above the historical average of 85,000 housing units with filings per month before the housing bubble burst occurred seven years ago.
“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 process,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.
For example, Blomquist noted that after 11 straight months of annual increases in foreclosure activity, as of July, Illinois has seen fewer foreclosures reported on a year-over-year basis for eight consecutive months. The same trend is taking place in Ohio, where activity has fallen for the last three months after eight straight months of increases on a yearly basis.
The Irvine, Calif.-based firm reported that foreclosure starts were higher on a monthly basis in 26 states and up from a year ago in 15 states, including Maryland (275%), Oregon (137%), New Jersey (89%), Connecticut (37%) and New York (27%).
Meanwhile, REO activity rose in 29 states month-over-month and 18 states posted more repossessions in July 2013 compared to the prior year.
“There are a dozen states, however, where foreclosure activity levels in July were at or below average monthly levels prior to the bubble bursting,” Blomquist added. “Those states include Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Indiana and Michigan, and we expect the number of states in this category to increase in the coming months.”
Florida posted the highest foreclosure rate—one in every 328 housing units—for the third straight month, in large part because nine of the nation’s 10 highest metropolitan foreclosure rates are located in the Sunshine State. Rounding out the top five states in foreclosure rates was Maryland, Ohio, Connecticut and New Mexico, all where a foreclosure is processed through the court system.
Meanwhile, RealtyTrac noted that Arizona’s foreclosure rate dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since February 2007, joining California and Michigan, which have not been included on this list for the last six months and five months, respectively.