Approximately 2.7 million foreclosure filings – including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – were reported on 1.8 million U.S. properties in 2011, a 34% decrease in total properties from 2010, according to new data from Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac. Foreclosure activity in 2011 was also 33% below the 2009 total and 19% below the 2008 total.
RealtyTrac reports that 1.45% of U.S. housing units (one in 69) had at least one foreclosure filing during the year, down from 2.23% in 2010, 2.21% in 2009, and 1.84% in 2008. Total U.S. foreclosure activity and the U.S. foreclosure rate in 2011 were both at their lowest annual level since 2007. Nevada had the nation's highest state foreclosure rate for the fifth consecutive year, with more than 6% of the state's housing units (one in 16) having at least one foreclosure filing. However, Nevada saw a 31% decrease in foreclosure activity from 2010.
‘Foreclosures were in full delay mode in 2011, resulting in a dramatic drop in foreclosure activity for the year,’ says Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac. ‘The lack of clarity regarding many of the documentation and legal issues plaguing the foreclosure industry means that we are continuing to see a highly dysfunctional foreclosure process that is inefficiently dealing with delinquent mortgages – particularly in states with a judicial foreclosure process.’
However, Moore warns that this year may see an uptick in foreclosure activities.
‘There were strong signs in the second half of 2011 that lenders are finally beginning to push through some of the delayed foreclosures in select local markets,’ he adds. ‘We expect that trend to continue this year, boosting foreclosure activity for 2012 higher than it was in 2011, though still below the peak of 2010.’
December 2011's foreclosure activity hit a 49-month low, with foreclosure filings reported on 205,024 U.S. properties – a 9% drop from the previous month and a 20% drop from December 2010.
December's default notices also decreased, down 19% from the previous month and down 23% from December 2010. Scheduled foreclosure auctions fell 12% from the previous month and were down 24% from December 2010. December's bank repossessions increased 10% from the previous month but were down 12% from December 2010.
In 2011's final quarterly data findings, foreclosure filings were reported on 586,133 U.S. properties in the fourth quarter, a 4% decrease from the previous quarter and down 27% from the fourth quarter of 2010. Fourth-quarter default notices were down 6% from the previous quarter and down 22% from the fourth quarter of 2010. Scheduled foreclosure auctions increased 4% from the previous quarter but were still down 32% from the fourth quarter of 2010, while bank repossessions decreased 11% from the previous quarter and were down 24% from the fourth quarter of 2010.