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2015 Foreclosures Hit Nine-Year Low

1906 San Francisco EarthquakeReal estate foreclosures hit a nine-year low in 2015, according to the latest annual report from RealtyTrac.

“In 2015 we saw a return to normal, healthy foreclosure activity in many markets even as banks continued to clean up some of the last vestiges of distress left over from the last housing crisis,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “The increase in bank repossessions that we saw for the year was evidence of this cleanup phase, which largely involves completing foreclosure on highly distressed, low value properties.

“Meanwhile, local economic problems became a larger driver of foreclosure activity in 2015,” Blomquist continued. “Examples of this are Atlantic City, New Jersey, which posted the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate for the year, along with several heavy oil-producing markets in Texas and Oklahoma where foreclosure activity increased in 2015, counter to the national trend.”

Annual U.S. Foreclosure Filings
Year Foreclosure Filings Annual Change
   2015 1,083,572   down 3.0 percent
   2014 1,117,426   down 17.94 percent
2013 1,361,795    down 25.85 percent
2012 2,304,941 down 14.59 percent
2011 2,698,967 down 29.45 percent
2010 3,825,637 down 3.33 percent
2009 3,957,643 up 25.33 percent
2008 3,157,806 up 43.32 percent
2007 2,203,295 up 74.99 percent
2006 1,259,118 up 42.20 percent
2005 885,468 n.a.

 Source: RealtyTrac.com
Chart Copyright 2016 OurBroker.com

Top 10 Foreclosure States

States with the highest foreclosure rates in 2015 were New Jersey (1.91 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Florida (1.77 percent); Maryland (1.60 percent); Nevada (1.40 percent); and Illinois (1.26 percent).

The situation with Maryland is curious because on the basis of median household income it’s the richest state in the US. Maryland is a massive job center, especially in health and medicine with the National Institutes of Health, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the Food and Drug Administration and all the related agencies, consultants and businesses. It has huge numbers of government workers and holds one of the largest computing centers in the world, the National Security Agency.


But Maryland also has a lot of foreclosures because a few years ago a legal question largely shut down the foreclosure system. Could a promissory note signed in blank — without the lender’s name — could be used in a foreclosure. In 2013 the Maryland Court of Appeals said yes and the result was that thousands and thousands of cases which had been set aside for nearly three years were once-again re-opened.

Other states posting foreclosure rates in the top 10 highest in 2015 were Delaware at No. 6 (1.05 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing); Ohio at No. 7 (1.01 percent); South Carolina at No. 8 (1.01 percent); Indiana at No. 9 (0.91 percent); and Tennessee at No. 10 (0.89 percent).

 1,000 Days For Foreclosures

Perhaps the most unusual item in this year’s RealtyTrac report is that it takes more than 1,000 days to foreclose in six states.

“U.S. properties foreclosed in the fourth quarter had been in the foreclosure process an average of 629 days, down slightly from 630 days in the third quarter but still up 4 percent from the average 604 days in the fourth quarter of 2014, “said RealtyTrac.

However, “there were six states where the average time to foreclose in the fourth quarter was more than 1,000 days: New Jersey (1,180 days), Utah (1,128 days), Hawaii (1,106 days), New Mexico (1,079 days), Florida (1,025 days), and New York (1,010 days).”

Alternatively, the “states with the shortest average time to foreclose in the fourth quarter were South Dakota (105 days), North Carolina (151 days), Virginia (225 days), Wyoming (263 days), and Texas (266 days).”

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