Foreclosure activity increases 7% in first quarter

IRVINE, Calif. – April 15, 2010 — RealtyTrac on April 15 released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for Q1 2010, which shows that foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 932,234 properties in the first quarter, a 7 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 16 percent increase from the first quarter of 2009. One in every 138 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing during the quarter.

Foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in March, an increase of nearly 19 percent from the previous month, an increase of nearly 8 percent from March 2009 and the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005.

“Foreclosure activity in the first quarter of 2010 followed a very similar pattern to what we saw in the first quarter of 2009: a shallow trough in January and February followed by a substantial spike in March,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “One difference, however, is that the increases were more tilted toward the final stage of foreclosure, with REOs increasing 9 percent on a quarterly basis in the first quarter of 2010 compared to a 13 percent quarterly decrease in REOs in the first quarter of 2009.

“This subtle shift in the numbers pushed REOs to the highest quarterly total we’ve ever seen in our report and may be further evidence that lenders are starting to make a dent in the backlog of distressed inventory that has built up over the last year as foreclosure prevention programs and processing delays slowed down the normal foreclosure timeline.”

Foreclosure Activity by Type
During the quarter a total of 304,799 properties received default notices (Notices of Default and Lis Pendens), an increase of 1 percent from the previous quarter but down 1 percent from the first quarter of 2009. Default notices were down nearly 11 percent from a peak of more than 342,000 in the third quarter of 2009.

Foreclosure auctions were scheduled for the first time on a total of 369,491 properties during the quarter, the highest quarterly total for scheduled auctions in the history of the report. Scheduled auctions increased 12 percent from the previous quarter and were up 21 percent from the first quarter of 2009.

Bank repossessions (REOs) also hit a record high for the report in the first quarter, with a total of 257,944 properties repossessed by the lender during the quarter — an increase of 9 percent from the previous quarter and an increase of 35 percent from the first quarter of 2009.

Nevada, Arizona, Florida post top state foreclosure rates in first quarter As it has for the past 13 quarters, Nevada continued to document the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate in the first quarter of 2010. One in every 33 Nevada housing units received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, more than four times the national average and an increase of nearly 15 percent from the previous quarter. Still, Nevada’s total of 34,557 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in the first quarter was down 16 percent from the first quarter of 2009.

Arizona foreclosure activity in the first quarter increased on a quarterly and annual basis, helping the state to post the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate for the third consecutive quarter. One in every 49 Arizona properties received a foreclosure filing during the quarter — nearly three times the national average.

With one in every 57 Florida properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the quarter, the state posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate for the second straight quarter. Florida’s Q1 foreclosure activity increased on a quarterly and annual basis.

California foreclosure activity decreased 6 percent from the first quarter of 2009, but the state still documented the nation’s fourth highest foreclosure rate — one in every 62 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.

Utah foreclosure activity increased 75 percent from the first quarter of 2009, the highest annual increase among states with top-10 foreclosure rates and giving it the nation’s fifth highest state foreclosure rate. Foreclosure filings were reported on 10,756 Utah properties, a rate of one in every 88 housing units and an increase of 21 percent from the previous quarter.

Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 in the first quarter were Michigan, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois and Colorado.

Ten states account for more than 70 percent of nation’s first quarter total California alone accounted for 23 percent of the nation’s total foreclosure activity in the first quarter, with 216,263 properties receiving a foreclosure notice — the nation’s highest foreclosure activity total.

Florida’s total was second highest, with 153,540 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the quarter, and Arizona’s total was third highest, with 55,686 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the quarter.

Despite a nearly 5 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous quarter, Illinois documented the fourth highest foreclosure activity total, with 45,780 properties receiving a foreclosure filing — still a 17 percent increase from the first quarter of 2009.

A total of 45,732 Michigan properties received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, the fifth highest state total. Michigan foreclosure activity increased nearly 11 percent from the previous quarter and was up nearly 38 percent from the first quarter of 2009.

Other states with foreclosure activity totals among the nation’s 10 highest were Georgia (39,911), Texas (37,354), Nevada (34,557), Ohio (33,221) and Colorado (16,023).

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