Foreclosure filings – including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – were reported on 119,888 U.S. properties in January, an increase of 5% compared to December but down 4% compared to January 2014, RealtyTrac reports.
The increase in filings was driven primarily by a 55% jump in bank repossessions, which hit a 15-month high in January, according to the firm's monthly foreclosure report. A total of 37,292 U.S. properties were repossessed by lenders in January, up 23% from a year ago to reach the highest monthly total since October 2013.
Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, says the year-over-year increase in real estate owned (REO) properties in January came after 25 consecutive months of declines, ‘getting the foreclosure spring cleaning we anticipated in our last foreclosure report off to an early start in 2015.’
‘Meanwhile, the number of future foreclosure auctions scheduled in January continued to increase in many states, foreshadowing more foreclosure spring cleaning to come in the next several months in those states,’ he adds.
Twenty-one states posted a year-over-year increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions in January, including Massachusetts (up 268%), New Jersey (up 125%), North Carolina (up 111%), New York (up 79% to a 55-month high), Missouri (up 74% to a 29-month high), California (up 43% to a 22-month high), Arizona (up 37% to a 20-month high), Oregon (up 29%) and Washington (up 13%).
Blomquist notes that in most of these states, ‘foreclosure auctions and REOs are coming off somewhat artificially low levels last year and are still far below the highs reached during the worst of the foreclosure crisis back in 2009 and 2010."
A total of 51,782 U.S. properties in January were scheduled for a future foreclosure auction, up 8% from the previous month but still down 7% from a year ago and down 67% from the peak of 158,105 in March 2010.
U.S. REOs in January were down 63% from a peak of 102,134 in September 2010.
Twenty-seven states posted annual increases in REOs in January, including Ohio (up 197%), New Jersey (up 116% to a 51-month high), Maryland (up 100%), Washington (up 75% to a 39-month high), Arizona (up 61% to a 20-month high), California (up 58% to a 24-month high), Pennsylvania (up 44% to a 42-month high), Michigan (up 39% to a 16-month high), North Carolina (up 38% to a 15-month high), Texas (up 24% to a 16-month high), New York (up 24% to a 55-month high) and Florida (up 17%).
Foreclosure starts declined from their 17-month high in December. A total of 48,838 foreclosure starts were processed in January, down 18% from December and down 15% from a year ago. This comes after two consecutive months of year-over-year increases.