RealtyTrac® released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for November 2012 this week. The report shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 180,817 U.S. properties in November, a decrease of 3 percent from October and down 19 percent from November 2011 — marking the 26th consecutive month with an annual decrease in foreclosure activity. The report also shows one in every 728 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.
“The drop in overall foreclosure activity in November was caused largely by a 71-month low in foreclosure starts for the month, more evidence that we are past the worst of the foreclosure problem brought about by the housing bubble bursting six years ago,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “But foreclosures are continuing to hobble the U.S. housing market as lenders finally seize properties that started the process a year or two ago — and much longer in some cases. We’re likely not completely out of the woods when it comes to foreclosure starts, either, as lenders are still adjusting to new foreclosure ground rules set forth in the National Mortgage Settlement along with various state laws and court rulings.”
Highlights of the report:
- U.S. foreclosure starts were down 13 percent from the previous month and down 28 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since December 2006 — a 71-month low.
- U.S. bank repossessions (REO) increased 11 percent from the previous month and were up 5 percent from November 2011, a nine-month high and the first year-over-year increase in REOs since October 2010.
- Despite the national decrease in foreclosure activity — driven largely by big year-over-year drops in California, Georgia, Michigan, Texas and Arizona — foreclosure activity increased from a year ago in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Nine states posted 12-month highs in foreclosure activity in November, including Florida, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and South Carolina.
- Florida posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the third month in a row, with one in every 304 housing units with a foreclosure filing in November, followed by Nevada, Illinois, California and South Carolina.
- Seven of the top 10 highest metro foreclosure rates nationwide were in Florida, led by Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville. The other three metros in the top 10 were in California.
- Foreclosure starts — default notices or scheduled foreclosure auctions, depending on the state — were filed for the first time on 77,494 U.S. properties in November, down 13 percent from the previous month and down 28 percent from November 2011. November’s foreclosure starts were at the lowest level since December 2006.
- Foreclosure starts decreased from a year ago in 28 states, including Oregon (84 percent), Pennsylvania (67 percent), California (63 percent), Arizona (59 percent), and Georgia (51 percent).
- Foreclosure starts increased from a year ago in 18 states, including New Jersey (538 percent), Arkansas (455 percent), New York (209 percent), Washington (97 percent), and Connecticut (95 percent).
Bank repossessions increased annually for the first time in 25 months — Lenders completed the foreclosure process on 59,134 U.S. properties in November, an 11 percent increase from the previous month and a 5 percent increase from November 2011 — the first year-over-year increase in bank repossessions since October 2010, when the practice of robo-signing foreclosure documents came to light and caused a sharp slowdown in foreclosure activity in the following months.
- REO activity increased annually in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Some of the biggest increases were in Indiana (96 percent), Arkansas (88 percent), Missouri (87 percent), New Jersey (84 percent), and Connecticut (60 percent).
- REO activity decreased annually in 21 states, including Nevada (64 percent), Oregon (58 percent), Massachusetts (49 percent), Utah (47 percent), and Tennessee (22 percent).