Foreclosure filings for the month of August were down 9% from a year ago – the smallest decrease in the last 47 consecutive months of year-over-year declines in U.S. foreclosure activity, according to RealtyTrac.
The company's U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for August shows foreclosure filings (default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions) were reported on 116,913 U.S. properties in August – an increase of 7% from the previous month, however.
A total of 51,192 U.S. properties were scheduled for foreclosure auction during the month: down 1% from the previous month but up 1% from a year ago, which is the first annual increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions following 44 consecutive months of annual decreases, RealtyTrac says.
Scheduled foreclosure auctions in judicial foreclosure states where foreclosures are processed through the court system increased 5% from a year ago.
More than 55,000 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in August: up 12% from the previous month and flat from year ago. It was the second consecutive month where U.S. foreclosure starts have increased on a month-over-month basis, according to the report.
Lenders repossessed 26,343 U.S. properties via foreclosure (REO) in August: up 2% from the previous month but down 33% from a year ago. It was the 21st consecutive month where REO activity declined on a year-over-year basis nationally.
The five states with the highest foreclosure rates were Florida, Nevada, Maryland, New Jersey and Georgia.
Six of the nation's 20 largest metro areas posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity: Washington, D.C. (up 18%); New York (up 18%); Baltimore (up 12%); Atlanta (up 11%); Philadelphia (up 11%); and San Francisco (up 2%).
"The August foreclosure numbers demonstrate that although the foreclosure crisis is well behind us, the messy business of cleaning up the distress lingering from the housing bust continues in many markets," says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
"The annual increase in foreclosure auctions – the first since the robo-signing controversy rocked the foreclosure industry back in late 2010 – indicates mortgage servicers are finally adjusting to the new paradigms for proper foreclosure that have been implemented in many states, whether by legislation or litigation or both," he explains.