Year-Over-Year Foreclosures Down Nine Percent in August

September 11, 2014

RealtyTrac has released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for August 2014, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 116,913 U.S. properties in August, an increase of seven percent from the previous month, but still down nine percent from a year ago. The report also shows one in every 1,126 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.
A total of 51,192 U.S. properties were scheduled for foreclosure auction during the month, down one percent from the previous month but up one percent from a year ago — the first annual increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions following 44 consecutive months of annual decreases. Scheduled foreclosure auctions in judicial foreclosure states, where foreclosures are processed through the court system, increased five percent from a year ago.
“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,” said 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.”
Scheduled foreclosure auctions increased from a year ago in 24 states, including Colorado (up 160 percent), Oregon (up 117 percent), Connecticut (up 81 percent), New York (up 81 percent), Oklahoma (up 72 percent), New Jersey (up 71 percent), Illinois (up 25 percent), South Carolina (up 21 percent) and Maryland (up 17 percent).
Other high-level findings from the report:
►More than 55,000 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in August, up 12 percent from 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.
►Foreclosure starts, which in some states are the scheduled foreclosure auctions, increased from a year ago in 19 states, including Oklahoma (up 147 percent), Indiana (up 136 percent), New Jersey (up 115 percent), Massachusetts (up 55 percent), Florida (up 24 percent) and Maryland (up 20 percent).
►Lenders repossessed 26,343 U.S. properties via foreclosure (REO) in August, up two percent from the previous month but down 33 percent from a year ago. It was the 21st consecutive month where REO activity declined on a year-over-year basis nationally.
►REOs increased from a year ago in seven states, included Georgia (up 146 percent), Hawaii (up 42 percent), Oregon (up 20 percent), Pennsylvania (up 12 percent) and Connecticut (up 10 percent).
►Six of the nation’s 20 largest metro areas posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity: Washington, D.C. (up 18 percent); New York (up 18 percent); Baltimore (up 12 percent); Atlanta (up 11 percent); Philadelphia (up 11 percent); and San Francisco (up two percent).
►Among the nation’s 20 largest metros, those with the five highest foreclosure rates were Miami (one in every 359 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Tampa (one in every 407 housing units); Baltimore (one in every 514 housing units); Riverside-San Bernardino in Southern California (one in every 612 housing units); and Chicago (one in every 662 housing units).
“Distressed property inventory in Southern California continues to decline as equity sellers continue to dominate the marketplace,” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales for First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market.
"While we have noticed a decrease in the numbers of foreclosure sales in Ohio, we have equally noticed a decrease in the condition of much of the distressed inventory,” said Michael Mahon, executive vice president/broker at HER Realtors, covering the Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio, markets. “As prices have increased with low listing inventory, lenders and  servicers have decreased the amount of investment in preparing a unit for sale. Lenders appear to be allowing for the increase in gross prices in the market to drive revenue while mitigating losses by cutting expenses in maintaining their foreclosure inventory.
“This approach is adding to increased building code violations in certain areas, and further creating blight conditions in some communities,” he added.
Florida, Nevada, Maryland, New Jersey, Georgia post highest state foreclosure rates
A total of 6,468 Florida properties started the foreclosure process in August, a 74 percent jump from the previous month and up 24 percent from a year ago, the first year-over-year increase in foreclosure starts after 17 consecutive months of year-over-year decreases. The rise in foreclosure starts helped Florida post the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 11th consecutive month. One in every 400 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing in August, nearly three times the national average.
The Nevada foreclosure rate of one in every 524 housing units with a foreclosure filing ranked second highest among the states, up from a number three ranking in the previous month thanks to a 36 percent month-over-month increase in foreclosure starts, bringing monthly foreclosure starts to the highest level since October 2013.
Maryland foreclosure starts in August increased 71 percent from the previous month and were up 20 percent from a year ago, helping that state’s foreclosure rate — one in every 532 housing units with a foreclosure filing — rank third highest in the nation.

New Jersey foreclosure starts in August increased 115 percent from a year ago to the highest level since January 2014, and scheduled foreclosure auctions increased 71 percent from a year ago to the highest level since July 2010, giving New Jersey the nation’s fourth highest state foreclosure rate: one in every 553 housing units with a foreclosure filing.
Georgia REO activity increased 196 percent from the previous month and was up 146 percent from a year ago to the highest level since August 2012, boosting the state’s foreclosure rate to fifth highest nationwide in August, up from 12th highest in July. One in every 582 Georgia housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month.
Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation’s 10 highest in August were Delaware at number six (one in every 746 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Ohio at number seven (one in every 840 housing units); Illinois at number eight (one in every 842 housing units); Indiana at number nine (one in every 893 housing units); and South Carolina at No. 10 (one in every 949 housing units).
Macon, Atlantic City, Orlando post top metro foreclosure rates
With one in every 154 housing units with a foreclosure filing in August, Macon, Ga., posted the highest foreclosure rates among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more. Macon foreclosure activity in August increased from a year ago following 18 consecutive months of year-over-year declines.
Foreclosure activity in Atlantic City, N.J., increased on a year-over-year basis in August for the 28th time in the last 30 months, helping the metro area’s foreclosure rate rank second highest nationwide. One in every 292 housing units in Atlantic City had a foreclosure filing in August, nearly four times the national average.
One in every 294 Orlando housing units had a foreclosure filing in August, the nation’s third highest metro foreclosure rate. Orlando foreclosure activity increased 33 percent from a year ago, and all three stages of foreclosure saw increases from a year ago: foreclosure starts increased 18 percent, scheduled auctions increased 63 percent, and REOs increased 15 percent to the highest level since January 2013.
The remaining seven metro areas with foreclosure rates in the top 10 highest were all in Florida: Jacksonville at number four (one in every 300 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Miami at number five (one in every 359 housing units); Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville at number six (one in every 368 housing units); Tampa at number seven (one in every 407 housing units); Pensacola at number eight (one in every 426 housing units); Cape Coral-Fort Myers at number nine (one in every 430 housing units); and Lakeland at number 10 (one in every 441 housing units).
Foreclosure activity increased from a year ago in eight of the markets with top 10 highest foreclosure rates. The two markets with decreases in foreclosure activity from a year ago were Miami (down 10 percent), and Tampa (down 14 percent).

Residential, Servicing, Settlement, Trends