A recent report from RealtyTrac® shows foreclosure filings, which includes default notices, bank repossessions and scheduled auctions were reported on 101,938 properties in the US in February. The article in RisMedia points out this figure has declined by 4% since January and is 9% lower than a year earlier.
These latest figures show foreclosure activity is now at its lowest level since July 2006. Experts point out that August 2006 was when the housing bubble reached its peak, making this 8 ½ year low in foreclosure activity particularly significant. It’s expected that foreclosure numbers will begin to return to historic levels later on this year or may even for lower than that due to the strict lending criteria imposed over the past five years. In some markets where foreclosures were dealt with more efficiently, numbers are now below those seen before the crisis. However some markets are still experiencing a backlog of foreclosure activity which is slowing down the recovery.
In spite of the decrease in foreclosure numbers, 24 states unfortunately registered an increase in overall foreclosure activity. These states include Massachusetts where rates have increased for five consecutive months and New York where rates have increased for six consecutive months. Nationally, in February 48,079 properties began the foreclosure process for the first time. This figure is a 5% lower than in January and 7% lower than a year earlier. However 23 states registered year on year increases in new foreclosure starts. In Nevada foreclosures have increased for the past four months, in Massachusetts they have increased for 11 consecutive months and in Texas they’ve increased for the last five out of six months.
In February 45,880 properties were scheduled for foreclosure auction in the future, a figure that was down by 13% from January and down by 4% from a year earlier. These scheduled foreclosure auctions can act as a foreclosure start in certain states, and year on year 25 states posted an increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions. In New York scheduled foreclosure auctions have increased for nine consecutive months, while in Massachusetts they have increased for three consecutive months. In New Jersey this is been the fifteenth consecutive month with an increase and Washington has seen an increase in five out of the last seven months.
Some 24,305 properties were repossessed by lenders in February. This was an increase of 9% from January but a decrease of 20% compared to a year earlier. Nationally, February marked twenty seven consecutive months where repossessions by lenders decreased annually.