Nearly all market indicators point to positive signs that housing conditions are beginning to moderate from the free falling days of the past few years, and even foreclosure statistics now support that notion. The pace of foreclosures slowed again in October for the third month in a row, RealtyTrac reported Thursday.
According to the company’s October 2009 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, foreclosure filings – including default notices, scheduled foreclosure auctions, and bank repossessions – were reported on 332,292 U.S. properties during the month. That number means one in every 385 homes received a filing.
Although the month-to-month tallies are showing improvement, the number of homeowners facing the loss of their home is still disconcerting and represents a 19 percent increase over October 2008.
“Three consecutive monthly declines is unprecedented for our report, and on first blush an indication that the foreclosure tide may be turning,” said James J. Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac.
Saccacio warns, though, that the fundamental forces driving foreclosure activity in this housing downturn – high-risk mortgages, negative equity, and unemployment – continue to loom over any nascent recovery, with foreclosure activity still substantially elevated in most states.
Nevada posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate in October, despite a 26 percent decrease in activity from the previous month and the state’s first year-over-year decrease since January 2006. A total of 13,842 Nevada properties received a foreclosure filing last month, representing one in every 80 homes. According to RealtyTrac, a new foreclosure mediation program implemented by state law in July may be slowing the inflow of distressed properties into the foreclosure pipeline.
With one in every 156 housing units receiving a filing in October, California posted the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate for the second month in a row. A total of 85,420 California properties received a foreclosure filing during the month, a decrease of 1 percent from the previous month but nearly 50 percent above the total reported in October 2008. This time last year, though, lenders in California were in the midst of a three-month trough after a state law took effect mandating extra notification before initiating foreclosure, and this likely explains the big year-over-year increase.
Florida reported the third highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 168 homes receiving a filing in October. A total of 51,911 Florida properties received a foreclosure filing during the month – down nearly 6 percent from the previous month and a decrease of 4 percent compared to October 2008. It was the first year-over-year decrease in overall Florida foreclosure activity since July 2006.
Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the nation’s 10 highest were Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Maryland, and Utah.
According to RealtyTrac’s market data, four states accounted for 52 percent of the nation’s total foreclosure activity in October: California, Florida, Illinois, and Michigan.