April Foreclosures Still High

Total foreclosure activity in April ended up slightly above March, once again hitting a record-level high.

Foreclosure filings including default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions were reported on 342,038 properties during the month, an increase of nearly 15% from March and an increase of 32% from April 2008, according to the U.S. Foreclosure Market Report from RealtyTrac, Irvine, Cal.

The report also shows that one in every 374 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in April, the highest monthly rate ever posted since the company began issuing its report in January 2005.

"Much of this activity is at the initial stages of foreclosure - the default and auction stages - while bank repossessions, or REOs, were down on a monthly and annual basis to their lowest level since March 2008," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

"Many lenders and servicers are beginning foreclosure proceedings on delinquent loans that had been delayed by legislative and industry moratoria. It's likely that we'll see a corresponding spike in REOs as these loans move through the foreclosure process over the next few months."

Nevada, Florida and California posted the top state foreclosure rates. Despite an 18% decrease in foreclosure activity from the March, Nevada continued to post the nation's highest foreclosure rate in April, with one in every 68 housing units receiving a filing, more than five times the national average.

The decrease in Nevada was driven largely by a 44% drop in bank repossessions from the previous month, although default notices also decreased from March. Total foreclosure activity in Nevada was up 111% from April 2008.

A 37% month-over-month increase in foreclosure activity boosted Florida's foreclosure rate to the second highest among states in April. One in every 135 Florida housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month, more than 2.7 times the national average. The monthly increase in Florida was driven by a spike in default notices and auction notices, but REOs were down 7% from the March. Total foreclosure activity in Florida was up 75% year-over-year.

Activity in California decreased 10%, but the state still posted the nation's third highest state foreclosure rate in April, with one in every 138 housing units getting a filing during the month. Total foreclosure activity in California was up 42% from a year ago.

Arizona posted the fourth highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 164 housing units receiving a filing, and Idaho posted the fifth highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 255 housing units receiving a filing in April.

Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the nation's 10 highest were Utah, Georgia, Illinois, Colorado and Ohio - although the foreclosure rates in Illinois, Colorado and Ohio were below the national average.

The 10 states with the most properties with foreclosure filings in April accounted for more than 75% of the national total. California documented the highest total (96,560), followed by Florida (64,588), Nevada (16,266) and Arizona (16,245).

Foreclosure filings were reported on 13,647 Illinois properties in April, the nation's fifth highest total. Illinois foreclosure activity decreased 11% from March but was still up 54% from April 2008. With one in every 384 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, the state's ranked eighth highest in the country but was still below the national average.

Other states with totals among the 10 highest in the country were Ohio (12,324), Georgia (11,521), Texas (11,314), Michigan (10,830) and Virginia (6,254).

Las Vegas continued to top the metro foreclosure rate. Filings were reported on 14,073 properties in April, a 20% drop from March, but the city continued to post the highest foreclosure rate among metro areas with a population of at least 200,000. One in every 56 Las Vegas housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month.