2012 Foreclosures Down 3% from 2011, 36% from 2010

RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com) released its Year-End 2012 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ on January 17th. The report shows a total of 2,304,941 foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 1,836,634 U.S. properties in 2012, down 3 percent from 2011 and down 36 percent from the peak of 2.9 million properties with foreclosure filings in 2010.  The report also shows that 1.39 percent of U.S. housing units (one in every 72) had at least one foreclosure filing during the year, down from 1.45 percent of housing units in 2011 and down from 2.23 percent of housing units in 2010.

 Other high-level findings from the report:

 Foreclosure activity in 2012 increased from 2011 in 25 states — 20 of which primarily use the longer judicial foreclosure process — including New Jersey (55 percent increase), Florida (53 percent increase), Connecticut (48 percent increase), Indiana (46 percent increase), Illinois (33 percent increase) and New York (31 percent increase).

 Foreclosure activity in 2012 decreased from 2011 in 25 states — 19 of which primarily use the more streamlined non-judicial foreclosure process — including Nevada (57 percent decrease), Utah (40 percent decrease), Oregon (40 percent decrease), Arizona (33 percent decrease), California (25 percent decrease) and Michigan (23 percent decrease).

 Florida posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate in 2012, with 3.11 percent of housing units (one in 32) receiving a foreclosure filing during the year. Other states with top 5 foreclosure rates were Nevada (2.70 percent), Arizona (2.69 percent), Georgia (2.58 percent), and Illinois (2.58 percent).

December foreclosure activity dropped 10 percent from the previous month to the lowest level since April 2007, a 68-month low, and fourth quarter foreclosure activity was at the lowest quarterly level since the third quarter of 2007 despite a 9 percent quarterly increase in bank repossessions.

 The average time to complete a foreclosure nationwide in the fourth quarter increased 8 percent from the previous quarter to a record-high 414 days.

 Lower foreclosure inventory gave sellers the upper hand and helped median sales prices in the first 10 months of 2012 to increase from the same time period in 2011 in 25 states. Median sales prices nationwide during the first 10 months of 2012 on average were 99 percent of median list prices.

 In January 2013, 10.9 million homeowners nationwide — representing 26 percent of all outstanding homes with a mortgage — were seriously underwater, meaning they owed at least 25 percent more on their home than what it was worth. That was down from 12.5 million homeowners representing 28 percent of all homes with a mortgage a year earlier in January 2012.

 December activity hits 68-month low, bank repossessions increase in fourth quarter

Foreclosure filings were reported on 162,511 U.S. properties in December, a 10 percent decrease from the previous month and down 21 percent from December 2011. December’s total was the lowest monthly total since April 2007 — a 68-month low. All three types of foreclosure filings — default notices (NOD, LIS), scheduled foreclosure auctions (NTS, NFS), and bank repossessions (REO) decreased both on a monthly and annual basis in December.

 Foreclosure filings were reported on 503,462 U.S. properties during the fourth quarter, a 5 percent decrease from the previous quarter — despite a 9 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in bank repossessions — and a 14 percent decrease from the fourth quarter of 2011. The fourth quarter total was the lowest quarterly total since the third quarter of 2007, when 448,145 U.S. properties received foreclosure filings.

 Florida, Nevada, Arizona post top state foreclosure rates

More than 3 percent of Florida housing units (3.11 percent, or one in 32) had at least one foreclosure filing in 2012, giving it the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the year. A total of 279,230 Florida properties had a foreclosure filing during the year, a 53 percent increase from 2011 but still 42 percent below the more than 485,000 Florida properties with foreclosure filings in 2010.

 After five consecutive years with the highest state foreclosure rate, Nevada dropped to No. 2 on the list in 2012 thanks to a 57 percent drop in foreclosure activity from 2011. A total of 31,658 Nevada properties had a foreclosure filing during the year, 2.70 percent of all housing units in the state (one in every 37).

 Arizona foreclosure activity in 2012 decreased 33 percent from 2011 and was down 51 percent from 2010, lowering the state’s foreclosure rate to the third highest in the nation following three consecutive years with the second highest rate. A total of 76,487 Arizona properties had foreclosure filings during the year, 2.69 percent of all housing units in the state (one in 37).

 Georgia posted the nation’s fourth highest state foreclosure rate, with 2.58 percent of housing units (one in 39) receiving at least one foreclosure filing in 2012, and Illinois posted the nation’s fifth highest state foreclosure rate, also with 2.58 percent of housing units (one in 39) receiving at least one foreclosure filing during the year.

 Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation’s 10 highest were California (2.33 percent), Ohio (1.75 percent), Michigan (1.69 percent), South Carolina (1.66 percent), and Colorado (1.64 percent).

 Foreclosure inventory rises from low point in May, still 31 percent below peak

As of the end of the year, more than 1.5 million homes were in some stage of foreclosure or bank-owned, up 9 percent from the end of 2011, but still 31 percent below the peak of 2.2 million at the end of 2010. Foreclosure inventory had dropped to a 57-month low of 1.3 million in May 2012, but has since risen off that 57-month low.

 Median home prices up in 25 states, 1.6 million fewer homeowners underwater

Lower foreclosure inventory during the year may have helped home prices to hit bottom and start rising in many markets during the year. Median home prices during the first 10 months of 2012 rose compared to the same time period in 2011 in 25 states and in 16 of the nation’s 20 largest metro areas.

 Average days to foreclose nationwide jumps to 414

U.S. properties foreclosed in the fourth quarter took an average of 414 days to complete the foreclosure process, up from 382 days in the third quarter and up from 348 days in the fourth quarter of 2011. It was the longest time to complete the foreclosure process since RealtyTrac began tracking the metric in the first quarter of 2007.

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