RealtyTrac released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for February 2013, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 154,281 U.S. properties in February, an increase of 2 percent from the previous month but still down 25 percent from February 2012. The report also shows one in every 849 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.
“At a high level the U.S. foreclosure inferno has been effectively contained and should be reduced to a slow burn in the next two years,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “But dangerous foreclosure flare-ups are still popping up in states where foreclosures have been delayed by a lengthy court process or by new legislation making it more difficult to foreclose outside of the court system. Foreclosure starts have been steadily building in those states over the last several months and likely will end up as bank repossessions or short sales later this year.
“These new foreclosure hot spots include states like Washington, where seven straight months of rising foreclosure activity pushed the state’s foreclosure rate to fifth highest nationwide —the highest it’s ever been in our report — and Maryland, where eight straight months of rising foreclosure activity placed the state’s foreclosure rate among the top 10 nationwide for the first time since July 2010,” Blomquist noted.
High-level findings from the report:
- U.S. foreclosure starts increased 10 percent from the previous month after three consecutive monthly decreases, but were still down 25 percent from February 2012.
- Foreclosure starts increased from the previous month in 32 states and were up from a year ago in 16 states, including Nevada (up 334 percent), Maryland (up 319 percent), Washington (up 172 percent), New York (up 139 percent), and New Jersey (up 70 percent).
- U.S. bank repossessions (REO) decreased 11 percent from the previous month and were down 29 percent from February 2012 to the lowest level since September 2007 — a 65-month low.
- Bank repossessions decreased from the previous month in 32 states and were down from a year ago in 41 states, including Oregon (down 78 percent), Massachusetts (down 69 percent), Nevada (down 59 percent), Georgia (down 58 percent), and California (down 49 percent).
- Florida posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the sixth consecutive month in February, reporting one in every 282 housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.
- Florida cities accounted for seven of the nation’s 10 highest metro foreclosure rates in February, led by the Miami, Orlando, Ocala, Tampa and Palm Bay metro areas in the top five spots.
Florida’s foreclosure rate ranked highest among the states for the sixth month in a row in February. One in every 282 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month — more than three times the national average. A total of 31,726 Florida properties had a foreclosure filing during the month, up 6 percent from the previous month and up 20 percent from February 2012 to a 16-month high.
Nevada foreclosure starts in February increased 334 percent from a year ago to a 17-month high, keeping the state’s foreclosure rate as the second highest nationwide for the fifth month in a row. One in every 320 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing in February, more than twice the national average.
Despite the third straight month-over-month decrease in foreclosure activity in February, Illinois posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate for the second month in a row: one in every 417 housing units with a foreclosure filing. A total of 12,671 Illinois properties had a foreclosure filing in February, down 10 percent from the previous month and down 5 percent from February 2012.
Ohio foreclosure activity increased 26 percent from the previous month and was up 12 percent from a year ago, boosting the state’s foreclosure rate to the fourth highest among the states. Ohio foreclosure activity has increased on an annual basis in 11 out of the past 13 months.