RealtyTrac: May U.S. Foreclosures Lowest since December 2006

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forclosureMassachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Indiana Buck Trend with Increasing Activity

IRVINE, Calif.— RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com), released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for May 2014, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 109,824 U.S. properties in May, a 5% decrease from the previous month and a 26% decrease from May 2013 to the lowest monthly level since December 2006. The report also shows one in every 1,199 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.

Despite the decrease in overall foreclosure activity nationwide, 21 states posted monthly increases in overall foreclosure activity, and 11 states posted annual increases in foreclosure activity.

States with annual increases in foreclosure activity included Massachusetts: up 58% from a year ago to an 18-month high; New Jersey: up 37% from a year ago, making May the 23rd month out of the last 27 where New Jersey foreclosure activity has increased annually; New York: up 18% from a year ago to a 14-month high; and Indiana: up 12% from a year ago, marking the third consecutive month with an annual increase.

Among the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan statistical areas, four posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity:

  • Boston-Cambridge-Quincy: up 44% from a year ago to an 18-month high following 21 consecutive months of year-over-year decreases
  • New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island: up 23%, marking the 24th month out of the last 27 with an annual increase
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria: up 8%, marking the 13th month out of the last 15 with an annual increase
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington: up 5%, marking the 14th month out of the last 15 with an annual increase

“It’s not surprising that some of the states with the longest foreclosure timelines are those with markets still dealing with increasing foreclosure activity even as the country as a whole continues to hit new lows,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “On the other hand, the increase in bank repossessions in some states with shorter foreclosure timelines like California and Oregon demonstrates there is still some pent-up foreclosure activity in those states as well.”

Bank repossessions at lowest level since July 2007, up in NY, NJ, CT, MD, OR, CA
Lenders repossessed 28,373 U.S. properties in May, down 6 % from the previous month and down 27% from May 2013 to the lowest monthly level since July 2007 — an 82-month low.

Despite the decrease nationally, bank repossessions (REO) increased from the previous month in 25 states and were up from a year ago in 14 states, including the following:

  • New York: up 117%, the 16th month out of the last 20 with an annual increase
  • New Jersey: up 96%, the 11th of the last 12 months with an annual increase
  • Connecticut: up 85%, the 15th consecutive month with an annual increase
  • Maryland: up 40%, the 15th consecutive month with an annual increase
  • Oregon: up 29%, the sixth consecutive month with an annual increase
  • California: up 26%, the second consecutive month with an annual increase after 28 consecutive months with annual decreases
  • Illinois: up 20%, the second consecutive month with an annual increase after 12 consecutive months with annual decreases.

U.S. foreclosure auctions at lowest level since December 2006, up in 16 states
Lenders scheduled foreclosure auctions for 47,085 U.S. properties in May, down 4% from the previous month and down 22% from a year ago to the lowest level since December 2006 — an 89-month low.

Despite the national decrease, scheduled foreclosure auctions increased from the previous month in 27 states and were up from a year ago in 16 states, including the following:

  • Utah: up 199 %, the 12th consecutive month with an annual increase
  • Oregon: up 157 %, the 11th consecutive month with an annual increase
  • New Jersey: up 70 % to the highest level since July 2010 — a 46-month high
  • Massachusetts: up 43 % to an eight-month high

U.S. foreclosure starts at lowest level since December 2005, up in 12 states
Lenders started the public foreclosure process on 49,240 U.S. properties in May, down 10 % from the previous month and down 32 % from a year ago to the lowest level since December 2005 — a 101-month low.

Despite the national decrease, foreclosure starts — which can be the scheduled public foreclosure auction in some states — increased from the previous month in 17 states and were up from a year ago in 12 states, including the following:

  • Massachusetts: up 178 % to a 15-month high
  • Indiana: up 67 %, marking the third consecutive month with an annual increase
  • Delaware: up 26 %, the 12th out of the last 15 months with an annual increase
  • New Jersey: up 15 %, the 25th out of the last 27 months with an annual increase
  • New York: up 14 % to a 14-month high

Florida, Maryland, Nevada, Illinois, Ohio post top state foreclosure rates
Florida foreclosure activity decreased 30 % on a year-over-year basis in May — the 10th consecutive month with an annual decrease — but the state still posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the eighth consecutive month. One in every 436 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing in May, nearly three times the national average.

Maryland foreclosure activity decreased 5 % on a year-over-year basis in May — following 22 consecutive months of annual increases — but the state still posted the nation’s second highest foreclosure rate for the month: one in every 621 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

Nevada foreclosure activity decreased 57 % on a year-over-year basis in May — the eighth consecutive month with an annual decrease — but the state’s foreclosure rate still ranked third highest for the month. One in every 717 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing in May.

Illinois foreclosure activity decreased 23 % on a year-over-year basis in May, but two consecutive months with annual increases in REO activity boosted the state’s foreclosure rate to fourth highest nationwide in May. One in every 790 Illinois housing units had a foreclosure filing for the month.

Ohio foreclosure activity decreased 27 % on a year-over-year basis in May — the ninth consecutive month with an annual increase — but the state still posted the nation’s fifth highest foreclosure rate for the month: one in every 805 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

“May 2014 delivered further noticeable evidence of a growing economy throughout Ohio,” said Michael Mahon, executive vice president/broker at HER Realtors, covering the Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio markets.  “As property values continue to increase, homeowners are taking advantage of restored equity by placing their homes for sale.  This recent activity is assisting in balancing the overall listing inventory across much of Ohio, lessening the year over year foreclosure activity.”

Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation’s 10 highest in May were New Jersey at No. 6 (one in every 815 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Delaware at No. 7 (one in every 818 housing units); Indiana at No. 8 (one in every 823 housing units); Connecticut at No. 9 (one in every 835 housing units); and South Carolina at No. 10 (one in every 851 housing units).

Top 20 metro foreclosure rates in FL, IL, PA, NJ, SC, OH, NV, CA
Florida accounted for the eight highest foreclosure rates among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more, led by Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville at No. 1, with one in every 303 housing units with a foreclosure filing — nearly four times the national average.

The other Florida cities in the top 10 were Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach at No. 2 (one in every 314 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Orlando-Kissimmee at No. 3 (one in every 336 housing units); Lakeland at No. 4 (one in every 379 housing units); Port St. Lucie at No. 5 (one every 381 housing units); Ocala at No. 6 (one in every 384 housing units); Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater at No. 7 (one in every 386 housing units); and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach at No. 8 (one in every 405 housing units).

Other cities with foreclosure rates in the top 10 were Rockford, Ill., at No. 9 with one in every 450 housing units with a foreclosure filing, and York-Hanover, Pa., at No. 10 with one in every 478 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

Cities with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 20 highest included Atlantic City, N.J. at No. 11 (one in every 495 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Columbia, S.C., at No. 15 (one in every 544 housing units); Chicago-Naperville-Joliet at No. 16 (one in every 573 housing units); Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor at No. 17 (one in every 605 housing units); Las Vegas-Paradise at No. 18 (one in every 618 housing units); and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at No. 19 (one in every 622 housing units).

“We continue to see a decline in distressed properties through the Southern California market,” said Chris Pollinger, executive vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market.  “As the market continues to stabilize, foreclosure activity is being replaced by traditional equity sellers, who continue to replace distressed inventory, especially in the foreclosure and REO markets.”