RealtyTrac has released its Mid-Year 2012 Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report, which shows that foreclosure activity in the first half of 2012 increased from the previous six months in 125 of the nation’s 212 metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more. Despite the increases from the second half of 2011, 129 of the metro areas still posted year-over-year decreases in foreclosure activity. California accounted for seven of the 10 highest metro foreclosure rates and 10 of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates during the first half of the year. Florida accounted for four of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates, and Illinois accounted for two of the top 20. Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado each had one city in the top 20.
“Increasing foreclosure starts in many local markets helped push total foreclosure activity higher in the first half of this year compared to the second half of 2011,” said Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Those foreclosure starts are welcome news for prospective buyers and real estate brokers in many local markets where a shortage of aggressively priced inventory has been holding up sales activity. Markets with increasing foreclosure starts will likely see more distressed inventory for sale in the form of short sales and bank-owned properties in the second half of the year.”
Stockton, Calif. posted the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate, 2.66 percent of housing units (one in every 38) with a foreclosure filing in the first half of 2012—more than three times the national average. There were a total of 6,218 Stockton properties with a foreclosure filing during the six-month period, a decrease of 13 percent from the previous six months and a decrease of 16 percent from the first half of 2011.
Four other California cities ranked in the top five metro foreclosure rates despite decreasing foreclosure activity: Modesto at number two (2.61 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at three (2.59 percent), Vallejo-Fairfield at four (2.56 percent), and Merced at number five (2.15 percent).
Atlanta was the only metro area with a top 10 foreclosure rate to register increasing foreclosure activity in the first half of 2012. A total of 46,267 Atlanta area properties had a foreclosure filing during the six-month period, 2.14 percent of all housing units (one in every 47)—the nation’s sixth highest metro foreclosure rate. Atlanta area foreclosure activity increased 3 percent from the previous six months and was up five percent from the first half of 2011.
Other metro areas with foreclosure rates in the top 10 were Phoenix at number seven (2.08 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing), Bakersfield, Calif. at eight (2.07 percent), Las Vegas at nine (2.04 percent), and Visalia-Porterville, Calif., at 10 (2.03 percent).
Half of the nation’s 20 largest metro areas in terms of population documented increasing foreclosure activity from the previous six months, led by the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area in Florida with a 47 percent increase.
Foreclosure activity during the first half of the year increased more than 20 percent from second half of 2011 in Philadelphia (30 percent), Chicago (28 percent), New York (26 percent), and Baltimore (21 percent).
Seattle foreclosure activity in the first half of 2012 decreased 24 percent from the previous six months, the biggest drop among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas. Other large metro areas where first half foreclosure activity decreased more than 10 percent from the second half of 2011 were San Francisco (21 percent), Detroit (17 percent), Los Angeles (13 percent), Boston (12 percent), and San Diego (11 percent).
Despite a nine percent decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous six months, the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metro area in Southern California registered the highest foreclosure rate among the 20 largest metro areas, followed by Atlanta, Phoenix, Miami and Chicago.
Second quarter foreclosure starts increased from the previous quarter in more than 60 percent of all metro areas with a population of 200,000 or more, and those markets represent areas where more foreclosure inventory will likely be available for sale in the second half of the year. Among the 132 metro areas with increasing foreclosure starts in the second quarter, RealtyTrac ranked the 10 best markets for foreclosure buying and investing in the second half of 2012. The top 10 list is comprised of metros where the average foreclosure sales price is increasing on an annual basis, average foreclosure sale discounts are still 15 percent or higher, and the unsold inventory of bank-owned homes represents a supply of 20 months or fewer.