Quarterly foreclosure filings are down significantly from 2012 — but that big problems remain.
The latest figures from Realtytrac show that foreclosure filings in the first quarter — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 442,117 U.S. properties. That’s down 12 percent from the previous quarter and down 23 percent from the first quarter of 2012.
The national figures are a sign of generally better times in the housing market but mask severe problems in several states where foreclosure activity is on the rise.
As an example, foreclosure activity is up substantially in Maryland. Why? The state is the richest in the country by household income but between late 2010 and the end of 2012 saw little foreclosure activity because of robo-signing worries. Now foreclosures have begun to pick-up and actions delayed by the robo-signing issue are once again starting to move through the court system.
“Although the overall national foreclosure trend continues to head lower, late-blooming foreclosures are bolting higher in some local markets where aggressive foreclosure prevention efforts in previous years are wearing off,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Meanwhile, more recent foreclosure prevention efforts in other states have drastically increased the average time to foreclose, which could result in a similar outbreak of delayed foreclosures down the road in those states.”
The report from RealtyTrac also found that:
- U.S. foreclosure starts increased 2 percent from February to March, the second straight monthly increase following three consecutive monthly decreases. There were a total of 73,113 foreclosure starts nationwide in March, still down 28 percent from a year ago.
- Foreclosure starts in March increased from the previous month in 23 states and were up annually in 12 states, led by New York (200 percent increase), Maryland (193 percent increase), Washington (154 percent increase), Arkansas (101 percent increase), and Nevada (88 percent increase).
- Lenders repossessed 43,597 properties nationwide in March, the lowest since September 2007. U.S. bank repossessions (REOs) in March decreased 3 percent from February and were down 21 percent from a year ago.
- A total of 34 states reported annual decreases in REO activity in March, including Oregon (down 72 percent), Utah (down 71 percent), Massachusetts (down 61 percent), Michigan (down 56 percent), and Nevada (down 55 percent).
- States bucking the national downward trend in REOs included Arkansas (up 121 percent annually in March), Maryland (up 114 percent), Washington (up 88 percent), Pennsylvania (up 41 percent), and Ohio (up 39 percent).
- Properties repossessed by lenders in the first quarter took an average of 477 days to complete the foreclosure process, up from 414 days in the previous quarter and a record high since RealtyTrac began tracking this metric in the first quarter of 2007.
- The average time to foreclose in the first quarter increased from the previous quarter in 39 states, led by Oregon (up 61 percent), Arkansas (up 42 percent), Texas (up 40 percent), Tennessee (up 37 percent), and Michigan (up 22 percent) — all non-judicial foreclosure states.
Divergent trends continue in judicial and non-judicial states
First quarter foreclosure activity in the 26 judicial or quasi-judicial states combined increased 6 percent from the first quarter of 2012, while first quarter foreclosure activity in the 24 judicial states decreased 44 percent during the same time period.
Similarly, March foreclosure activity increased 4 percent annually in the judicial states combined but decreased 44 percent annually in the non-judicial states combined.
Florida, Nevada, Illinois post highest foreclosure rates in first quarter
There were a total of 85,671 Florida properties with foreclosure filings in the first quarter, the most of any state and one in every 104 housing units — the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate and nearly three times the national average of one in every 296 housing units. Florida foreclosure activity in the first quarter increased 7 percent from the previous quarter and was up 17 percent from the first quarter of 2012.
Nevada foreclosure activity increased 13 percent in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter, helping the state post the nation’s second highest foreclosure rate. One in every 115 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing during the quarter. First quarter foreclosure activity in Nevada was still down 18 percent from a year ago, but the quarterly increase was driven largely by a recent uptick in foreclosure starts. Nevada foreclosure starts in March increased 88 percent from a year ago to an 18-month high.
Illinois foreclosure activity in the first quarter decreased 2 percent from the previous quarter and was down 5 percent from a year ago, but the state’s foreclosure rate — one in every 147 housing units with a foreclosure filing during the quarter — still ranked third highest nationwide. The annual decrease in the first quarter followed four consecutive quarters with annual increases in Illinois foreclosure activity.
Ohio foreclosure activity increased annually for the fourth consecutive quarter in the first quarter, helping the state post the nation’s fourth highest foreclosure rate — one in every 188 housing units with a foreclosure filing.
Georgia foreclosure activity in the first quarter decreased annually for the third consecutive quarter, but the state still posted the nation’s fifth highest foreclosure rate — one in every 200 housing units with a foreclosure filing.
Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 were Arizona (one in every 202 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Washington (one in 220 housing units), Maryland (one in 254 housing units), South Carolina (one in 254 housing units), and California (one in 266 housing units).
Florida cities account for seven of 10 highest metro foreclosure rates in first quarter
One in every 79 housing units in the Miami metro area had a foreclosure filing in the first quarter of 2013, more than three times the national average and highest among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more.
Six other Florida metro areas documented foreclosure rates that ranked among the top 10: Orlando at No. 2 (one in every 86 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Ocala at No. 3 (one in 92 housing units); Tampa at No. 5 (one in 100 housing units); Jacksonville at No. 7 (one in 105 housing units); Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville at No. 8 (one in 109 housing units); and Lakeland at No. 10 (one in 128 housing units).
Other cities with foreclosure rates in the top 10 were Las Vegas at No. 4 (one in 99 housing units); Rockford, Ill., at No. 6 (one in 102 housing units); and Chicago at No. 9 (one in 116 housing units).
Days to foreclose at record 477 days, biggest increases in non-judicial states
U.S. properties foreclosed in the first quarter took an average of 477 days to complete the foreclosure process, up from 414 days in the previous quarter and up from 370 days in the first quarter of 2012. It was the highest average number of days to foreclose going back to the first quarter of 2007.
The average time to complete a foreclosure increased from the previous quarter in 39 states, led by Oregon (up 61 percent), Arkansas (up 42 percent), Texas (up 40 percent), Tennessee (up 37 percent), and Michigan (up 22 percent) — all non-judicial foreclosure states.
Despite a 4 percent decrease in the average time to complete a foreclosure from the previous quarter, New York continued to register the longest state foreclosure timeline at 1,049 days from foreclosure start to bank repossession (REO). New Jersey came in second highest at 1,002 days followed by Florida at 893 days, Hawaii at 824 days, and Illinois at 720 days.
Texas documented the shortest time to complete a foreclosure at 159 days despite a 40 percent increase from the previous quarter. Virginia documented the second shortest foreclosure timeline at 166 days, followed by Delaware at 168 days, Maine at 182 days, and Alabama at 186 days.