Bank Owned Homes Hit Record High In First Quarter

REOs hit a record high in the first quarter with a total of 257,944 properties repossessed by lenders, an increase of 9% from the previous quarter and up a whopping 35% from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac.

In it's U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, RealtyTrac, Irvine, Calif., said foreclosure activity increased 7% in the first quarter, following a substantial spike in March as more homes tilted toward the final stage of foreclosure.

Total filings, including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions were reported on 932,234 properties, a 7% increase from the fourth quarter of 2009 and a 16% increase from the first quarter of 2009.

Foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in March, up 19% from February and up almost 8% from March 2009.The data in the first quarter followed a very similar pattern to what RealtyTrac saw in the first quarter of 2009, a shallow trough in January and February followed by a dramatic rise in March, said James Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac.

"One difference, however, is that the increases were more tilted toward the final stage of foreclosure, with REOs increasing 9% on a quarterly basis in the first quarter of 2010 compared to a 13% quarterly decrease in REOs in the first quarter of 2009," said Saccacio.

"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."

Nearly 305,000 properties received default notices, down 11% from a peak of more than 342,000 in the third quarter of 2009. Foreclosure auctions were scheduled on 369,491 homes, an increase of 12% from the previous quarter and up 21% from a year ago.

While Nevada documented the nation's highest state foreclosure rate with a total of 34,557, the amount was down 16% from the first quarter of 2009.

California foreclosure activity slowed down 6% from the first quarter of 2009, but the state still documented the nation's fourth highest foreclosure rate.

Utah foreclosure activity rose 75% from the first quarter of 2009, the highest annual increase among states with top-10 foreclosure rates. Filings were reported on 10,756 Utah properties.

Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 in the first quarter were Michigan, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois and Colorado.

Ten states account for more than 70% of the nation's first-quarter total. California held the top spot with 23% of the country's foreclosure activity in the first quarter, with 216,263 properties receiving a foreclosure notice.

Florida's total was the second highest, with 153,540 properties receiving a filing during the quarter, and Arizona's total was third highest, with 55,686 properties.

Despite a nearly 5% slowdown in foreclosure activity from the previous quarter, Illinois documented the fourth highest foreclosure activity total, with 45,780 properties receiving a filing, still a 17% increase from the a year ago.

A total of 45,732 Michigan properties received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, the fifth highest state total. Michigan foreclosure activity increased 11% from the previous quarter and was up 38% from the first quarter of 2009.

Other states rounding out the top 10 in foreclosure activity were Georgia (39,911), Texas (37,354), Nevada (34,557), Ohio (33,221) and Colorado (16,023).

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