Falling 16% from the same time one year ago, the country's foreclosure activity has now hit the lowest level in eight years, according to RealtyTrac's Midyear 2014 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.
RealtyTrac says there were 613,874 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – in the first half of 2014. This marks a 19% decrease from the previous six months and a 23% decrease from the first half of 2013.
The report also includes new foreclosure activity data from June, when a total of 107,194 U.S. properties had a foreclosure filing – down 2% from the previous month and down 16% from a year ago to the lowest level since July 2006.
The report also shows that 0.47% of all U.S. housing units (one in 214) had at least one foreclosure filing in the first six months of the year.
‘Over the next six to nine months, nationwide foreclosure numbers should start to flat line at consistent historically normal levels," notes Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. ‘There continue to be concerning trends in some states and local markets that clearly indicate those markets are not completely out of the woods when it comes to the lingering foreclosure problem left over from the housing bust.
‘While it's important that any remaining foreclosure infection is addressed promptly to keep it from festering, foreclosures are no longer a widespread contagion threatening to derail the housing market's return to full health.’
Only nine states saw overall foreclosure activity increase in the first half of 2014 compared to the year before, including New Jersey (up 54%), Maryland (up 18%), Iowa (up 10%), Massachusetts (up 4%) and Connecticut (up 4%).
States with the highest foreclosure rates in the first half of 2014 were Florida (one in 74 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Maryland (one in 107), Illinois (one in 123), New Jersey (one in 134) and Nevada (one in 138).
A total of 47,243 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process for the first time (not including re-filings) in June – down 4% from the previous month and down 18% from a year ago to the lowest level since November 2005.
Foreclosure starts in June increased from the previous month in 15 states and were up from a year ago in 20 states, including Massachusetts (105% increase), New Jersey (70% increase), Nevada (66% increase), Indiana (65% increase), Oregon (50% increase) and Ohio (17% increase).
A total of 26,889 U.S. properties were repossessed by lenders via foreclosure in June – down 5% from the previous month and down 24% from a year ago to the lowest level since June 2007.
A total of 46,743 U.S. properties were scheduled for foreclosure auction in June – down 1% from the previous month and down 13% from a year ago to the lowest level since July 2006.
For properties foreclosed in the second quarter of the year, the average time to complete a foreclosure was 577 days – up from 572 days in the previous quarter and up from 526 days in the second quarter of 2013.
States with the longest time to foreclose were New Jersey (1,098 days), New York (930 days), Florida (925 days), Hawaii (915 days), Illinois (850 days) and Massachusetts (784 days).
‘Lenders are acting quickly regarding delinquent homeowners to determine if the property can be placed on the market for quick sale versus moving the home immediately into the foreclosure process,’ says Michael Mahon, executive vice president/broker at HER Realtors, covering the Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio, markets.
‘Low inventory levels and predicted increasing interest rates towards year-end will create changes in housing affordability as we proceed into the second half of 2014, limiting options for some consumers," he adds.
The full report can be found here.