Foreclosure filings in January fell nearly 10% to 315,716 from December 2009, according to RealtyTrac's latest report. Month over month, real estate owned (REO) activity nationwide was down 5%, default notices dropped 12% and scheduled foreclosure auctions were down 11%. Year over year, overall filing activity was up 15%.
But, as RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio explains, the drop-off in filings may only be temporary.
‘January foreclosure numbers are exhibiting a pattern very similar to aÂ year ago: a double-digit percentage jump in December foreclosure activity,Â followed by a 10 percent drop in January,’ Saccacio says. "IfÂ history repeats itself, we will see a surge in the numbers over the next few months as lenders foreclose on delinquent loans where neither the existing loan modification programs nor the new short-sale and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure alternatives works."
Despite a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity of nearly 18%, Nevada's foreclosure rate remained the highest in the nation for the 37th straight month. One in every 95 Nevada housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month – more than four times the national average.
A 4% month-over-month increase in foreclosure activity boosted Arizona's foreclosure rate to second highest among the states in January. (One in every 129 Arizona housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month.)
Foreclosure activity decreased by double-digit percentages from the previous month in both California and Florida, and the two states registered nearly identical foreclosure rates, with one in every 187 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing. California's foreclosure rate was statistically higher by a slim margin and ranked third highest among the states, while Florida's foreclosure rate ranked fourth highest.
With one in every 231 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, Utah registered the nation's fifth-highest state foreclosure rate, despite a nearly 12% month-over-month decrease in foreclosure activity.
Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation's 10 highest were Idaho, Michigan, Illinois, Oregon and Georgia.