U.S. Foreclosure Starts at Lowest Level in More Than 10 Years According to RealtyTrac November Foreclosure Report

Scheduled Foreclosure Auctions Reach Lowest Level since December 2005;
Bank Repossessions Up 60 Percent from a Year Ago;
Top Five State Foreclosure Rates in Maryland, New Jersey, Florida, Nevada, Illinois

IRVINE, Calif. – Dec. 10, 2015 — RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com), the nation’s leading source for comprehensive housing data, today released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for November 2015, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 104,111 U.S. properties in November, a decrease of nearly 10 percent from the previous month and down more than 7 percent from a year ago. The report also shows one in every 1,268 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.

The 10 percent monthly decrease in overall foreclosure activity was caused largely by a 15 percent monthly drop in foreclosure starts, with 41,208 properties starting the foreclosure process for the first time in November, the lowest monthly total since May 2005. Foreclosure starts have decreased on a monthly basis for seven of the last eight months — with the exception of a monthly increase in October — and November was the fifth consecutive month where national foreclosure starts decreased on a year-over year basis.

“Banks are continuing to work through the backlog of lingering foreclosures, pushing bank repossession numbers higher in the short term even as foreclosure starts drop to new lows,” said Daren Blomquist. “This also means the share of active foreclosures tied to bubble-era loans is shrinking, with 59 percent of all loans in foreclosure originated between 2004 and 2008. While that is still a disproportionate share of active foreclosures, it continues to decrease from 61 percent earlier this year and 75 percent two years ago.”

Bucking the national trend, there were nine states where foreclosure starts increased from a year ago, including Oklahoma (up 246 percent), Arkansas (up 180 percent), Virginia (up 39 percent), Maine (up 5 percent), and Massachusetts (up 14 percent).

Bank repossessions up 35 percent year-to-date

There were a total of 40,329 properties repossessed by lenders (REOs) in November, up 10 percent from the previous month and up 60 percent from a year ago — the ninth consecutive month with a year-over-year increase in REOs. Through the first 11 months of 2015 there have been 410,249 completed foreclosures, up 35 percent from 303,064 REOs during the same time period in 2014.

REOs increased from a year ago in 41 states, led by Tennessee (up 608 percent), Mississippi (up 341 percent), Texas (298 percent), Nebraska (up 295 percent), New York (up 270 percent) and New Jersey (up 205 percent).

Those states that saw the most completed foreclosures for the month included Florida (6,435 REOs), Texas (3,107 REOs), California (2,567 REOs), Illinois (2,338 REOs), and Georgia (2,302 REOs).

Scheduled foreclosure auctions at lowest level since December 2005

A total of 36,409 U.S. properties were scheduled for foreclosure auction during the month, down 22 percent from the previous month and down 27 percent from a year ago.

Scheduled foreclosure auctions — which can be foreclosure starts in some states — decreased from a year ago in 31 states, including Hawaii (down 87 percent), Florida (down 58 percent), Georgia (down 48 percent), Texas (down 46 percent), Oregon (down 39 percent), Colorado (down 34 percent), and Washington (down 33 percent).

“Seattle can best be described as a market in full recovery mode,” said Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, covering the Seattle market. “Sales are strong and prices continue to climb. As such, the drop in foreclosure activity is not a surprise and I certainly do not see it increasing any time soon.  What we can expect is for foreclosures to continue falling as banks clear through their backlog of inventory.”

There were 10 states where scheduled foreclosure auctions increased annually, including New Jersey (up 82 percent), Maryland (up 6 percent), New York (up 3 percent), Massachusetts (up 39 percent), and New Mexico (up 109 percent).

Maryland, New Jersey, Florida, Nevada and Illinois post highest state foreclosure rates

A total of 4,631 Maryland properties had a foreclosure filing in November, down nearly 10 percent from the previous month, but still up 13 percent from a year ago — making Maryland number one in the nation for foreclosures for the second month in a row. One in every 516 Maryland housing units had a foreclosure filing in November, more than twice the national average. Foreclosure starts increased 13 percent from a year ago after six consecutive months of year-over-year decreases.

The state of New Jersey accounted for 6,448 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in November, a foreclosure rate of one in every 553 housing units — second highest among the states. New Jersey foreclosure activity in November decreased 15 percent from the previous month, and was down 13 percent from a year ago — the first annual decrease after eight consecutive months of increases.

One in every 662 Florida housing units received a foreclosure filing in November, the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate. Florida’s foreclosure rate has ranked in the Top 5 each month in 2015.  Florida foreclosure activity decreased 13 percent from the previous month and was down 30 percent from a year ago. Florida foreclosure starts decreased annually by 36 percent, the fourth consecutive month of annual decreases. Scheduled foreclosure auctions in Florida decreased 58 percent from a year ago, the 12th consecutive month of decreases.

Nevada foreclosure activity decreased 23 percent from the previous month, but increased 2 percent from a year ago, giving the state the nation’s fourth highest state foreclosure rate: one in every 771 housing units with a foreclosure filing. Nevada foreclosure starts decreased 17 percent annually, the fifth consecutive month of decreases. Scheduled foreclosure auctions decreased 12 percent annually, the fourth consecutive month of decreases. Nevada bank repossessions increased 89 percent, the eighth consecutive month of increases.

After two consecutive months of annual increases, Illinois foreclosure activity decreased 21 percent from the previous month in November, and the state posted the nation’s fifth highest foreclosure rate: one in every 859 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation’s 10 highest in November were South Carolina at No. 6 (one in every 873 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Ohio at No. 7 (one in every 1,014 housing units); Georgia at No. 8 (one in every 1,083 housing units); Indiana at No. 9 (one in every 1,089 housing units); and North Carolina at No. 10 (one in every 1,139 housing units).

Atlantic City posts top metro foreclosure rate for fifth consecutive month

The Atlantic City, New Jersey metro area remained in the No. 1 spot among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more for the fifth consecutive month in November. One in every 307 Atlantic City housing units had a foreclosure filing in November, more than four times the national average. Atlantic City maintained the top spot even though overall activity was down 16 percent from the previous month and down 6 percent from a year ago. Bank repossessions in Atlantic City increased for the ninth consecutive month.

Foreclosure activity in November increased 32 percent from a year ago in Trenton, New Jersey, and the metro area posted the nation’s second highest foreclosure rate: one in every 346 housing units with a foreclosure filing. Scheduled foreclosure auctions increased annually in Trenton for the seventh consecutive month, and bank repossessions increased annually for the 10th consecutive month.

Foreclosure activity increased 9 percent from a year ago in Ocala, Florida, and the metro area posted the nation’s third highest metro foreclosure rate: one in every 449 housing units with a foreclosure filing).

Other metro areas with foreclosure rates in the top 10 highest were Baltimore, Maryland at No. 4 (one in every 482 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Reading, Pennsylvania at No. 5 (one in every 502), Tampa, Florida at No. 6 (one in every 512), Columbia, South Carolina at No. 7 (one in every 523), Fayetteville, North Carolina at No. 8 (one in every 536), Jacksonville, Florida at No. 9 (one in every 552), and Daytona Beach, Florida at No. 10 (one in every 567).

Report methodology
The RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report provides a count of the total number of properties with at least one foreclosure filing entered into the RealtyTrac database during the month — broken out by type of filing. Some foreclosure filings entered into the database during the month may have been recorded in previous months. Data is collected from more than 2,200 counties nationwide, and those counties account for more than 90 percent of the U.S. population. RealtyTrac’s report incorporates documents filed in all three phases of foreclosure: DefaultNotice of Default (NOD) and Lis Pendens (LIS); Auction — Notice of Trustee’s Sale and Notice of Foreclosure Sale (NTS and NFS); and Real Estate Owned, or REO properties (that have been foreclosed on and repurchased by a bank). The report does not count a property again if it receives the same type of foreclosure filing multiple times within the estimated foreclosure timeframe for the state where the property is located.

Report License                                                                                                     
The RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report is the result of a proprietary evaluation of information compiled by RealtyTrac; the report and any of the information in whole or in part can only be quoted, copied, published, re-published, distributed and/or re-distributed or used in any manner if the user specifically references RealtyTrac as the source for said report and/or any of the information set forth within the report.

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About RealtyTrac
RealtyTrac is a leading provider of comprehensive U.S. housing and property data, including nationwide parcel-level records for more than 130 million U.S. properties. Detailed data attributes include property characteristics, tax assessor data, sales and mortgage deed records, distressed data, including default, foreclosure and auctions status, and Automated Valuation Models (AVMs). Sourced from RealtyTrac subsidiary Homefacts.com, the company’s proprietary national neighborhood-level database includes more than 50 key local and neighborhood level dynamics for residential properties, providing unrivaled pre-diligence capabilities and a parcel risk database for portfolio analysis. RealtyTrac’s data is widely viewed as the industry standard and, as such, is relied upon by real estate professionals and service providers, marketers and financial institutions, as well as the Federal Reserve, U.S. Treasury Department, HUD, state housing and banking departments, investment funds and tens of millions of consumers.

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