U.S. Foreclosure Activity Decreases 9 Percent in November Despite First Annual Increase in Foreclosure Starts Since July 2012

Scheduled Foreclosure Auctions Increase Annually for Second Consecutive Month;
Bank Repossessions Decrease Annually for 24th Consecutive Month;
Top Five State Foreclosure Rates in Florida, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Utah;

IRVINE, Calif. – Dec. 11, 2014 — RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com), the nation’s leading source for comprehensive housing data, today released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for November 2014, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 112,498 U.S. properties in November, a decrease of 9 percent from the previous month and down 1 percent from a year ago — the 50th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in overall foreclosure activity. The report also shows one in every 1,170 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.

A total of 55,906 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in November, a decrease of 1 percent from the previous month but a 6 percent increase from a year ago, the first year-over-year increase following 27 consecutive months of year-over-year decreases.

50,102 U.S. properties were scheduled for foreclosure auction during the month, down 16 percent from an 18-month high in the previous month but up 5 percent from a year ago.

Lenders repossessed 25,249 properties in November, down 10 percent from the previous month and down 17 percent from a year ago, making November the 24th consecutive month with year-over-year decreases.

“The housing market is struggling to find the new normal when it comes to a tolerable level of foreclosure activity in this post-Great Recession economy,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Finding that new normal requires striking a balance between too much loan risk, which would result in another housing meltdown, and too little risk, which could result in a stunted recovery.

“Foreclosure rates on 2014-originated loans are actually higher than 2013-originated loans nationwide and in many markets, indicating that lenders are open to a slightly higher level of risk than we’ve seen over the past five years of extremely tight lending standards,” Blomquist continued. “But it’s unlikely that lenders will dial up that risk level too quickly going forward given that many are still dealing with working through a lengthy and messy foreclosure process on risky loans from the last loose lending spree.”

Scheduled foreclosure auctions increased from a year ago in 30 states, including Kentucky (up 163 percent), Tennessee (up 159 percent), North Carolina (up 157 percent), New Jersey (up 117 percent), Oregon (up 114 percent), New York (up 76 percent), Texas (up 34 percent), Pennsylvania (up 13 percent), Georgia (up 8 percent), and Washington (up 7 percent).

“I think the reason we’ve seen foreclosure activity go up in Seattle over the past year is because banks are simply better prepared for defaults. As a result, they’re able to get a higher volume of foreclosures processed much more quickly,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, covering the Seattle market

Other high-level findings from the report:

  • Foreclosure starts, which in some states are the scheduled foreclosure auctions, increased from a year ago in 30 states, including New Jersey (up 256 percent), Nevada (up 138 percent), Massachusetts (up137 percent), Indiana (up 55 percent), and Utah (up 20 percent).
  • REOs increased from a year ago in 15 states, including Maryland (up 93 percent), North Carolina (up 66 percent), New York (up 64 percent), Kentucky (up 56 percent), New Jersey (up 54 percent), Iowa (up 29 percent), and Massachusetts (up 29 percent).
  • Five of the nation’s 20 largest metro areas posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity: New York (up 71 percent), Houston (up 70 percent), Philadelphia (up 43 percent), Boston (up 27 percent) and Baltimore (up 22 percent).
  • Among the nation’s 20 largest metros, those with the five highest foreclosure rates were Miami (one in every 394 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Tampa (one in every 432 housing units), Baltimore (one in every 576 housing units), Philadelphia (one in every 625 housing units), Chicago (one in every 716 housing units) and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario in Southern California (one in every 725 housing units).

“There are hotspots in some of the inland areas but overall we are seeing foreclosure activity continue to decline to historical norms.” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market.

Florida, New Jersey, Maryland post highest state foreclosure rates
A 4 percent monthly decrease in foreclosure activity and a 15 percent annual decrease in foreclosure activity in Florida were not enough to keep the state from having the highest foreclosure rate in the country – one in every 462 housing units with a foreclosure filing.  Florida has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 13 out of the last 14 consecutive months.

The New Jersey foreclosure rate, (one in every 478 housing units with a foreclosure filing) ranked second highest among the states, up from a No. 9 ranking in the previous month thanks to a 196 percent year-over-year increase in foreclosure activity. New Jersey has seen a year-over-year increase in foreclosure activity 11 out of the last 12 months.

Maryland foreclosure completions in November increased 93 percent from a year ago, helping that state’s foreclosure rate — one in every 581 housing units with a foreclosure filing — rank third highest in the nation.

Delaware foreclosure starts in November increased 24 percent from the previous month, and scheduled foreclosure auctions increased 45 percent from the previous month, giving Delaware the nation’s fourth highest state foreclosure rate — one in every 693 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

Utah REO activity increased 83 percent from the previous month and was up 20 percent from a year ago, the first year-over-year increase in REO activity for the state in 41 months since June 2011, boosting the state’s foreclosure rate to fifth highest nationwide in November, up from No. 12 in October. One in every 750 Utah housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month.

Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation’s 10 highest in November were Nevada at No. 6 (one in every 783 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Illinois at No. 7 (one in every 848 housing units), Ohio at No. 8 (one in every 865 housing units), Indiana at No. 9 (one in every 932 housing units), and South Carolina at No. 10 (one in every 933 housing units).

Atlantic City posts nation’s top metro foreclosure rate
With one in every 289 housing units with a foreclosure filing in November, Atlantic City, N.J., posted the highest foreclosure rate among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more. Atlantic City REO activity increased 264 percent from a year ago, the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in REO activity for the metro area.

The Miami foreclosure rate, (one in every 394 housing units with a foreclosure filing) ranked second highest among metro areas, down from a No. 1 ranking in the previous month thanks to a 22 percent year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity.

“South Florida is in the fourth quarter with our distressed real estate. It is encouraging to see a 22 percent overall decline in our region,” said Mike Pappas, CEO and president of the Keyes Company, covering the South Florida market.

The remaining eight metro areas with foreclosure rates in the top 10 highest were Jacksonville, Fla., at No. 3 (one in every 395 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla., at No. 4 (one in every 399 housing units), Orlando, Fla., at No. 5 (one in every 408 housing units), Pensacola, Fla., at No. 6 (one in every 428 housing units), Tampa, Fla., at No. 7 (one in every 432 housing units), Trenton N.J., at No. 8 (one in every 456 housing units), Lakeland, Fla., at No. 9 (one in every 461 housing units) and Ocala, Fla., at No. 10 (one in every 489 housing units).

Foreclosure activity increased from a year ago in four of the markets with the top 10 highest foreclosure rates including Atlantic City (up 230 percent), Trenton (up 193 percent), Lakeland (up 67 percent) and Pensacola (up 66 percent).

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.

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