RealtyTrac has released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for November 2012, which shows foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—were reported on 180,817 U.S. properties in November, a decrease of three percent from October and down 19 percent from November 2011—marking the 26th consecutive month with an annual decrease in foreclosure activity. The report also shows one in every 728 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.
“The drop in overall foreclosure activity in November was caused largely by a 71-month low in foreclosure starts for the month, more evidence that we are past the worst of the foreclosure problem brought about by the housing bubble bursting six years ago,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “But foreclosures are continuing to hobble the U.S. housing market as lenders finally seize properties that started the process a year or two ago—and much longer in some cases. We’re likely not completely out of the woods when it comes to foreclosure starts, either, as lenders are still adjusting to new foreclosure ground rules set forth in the National Mortgage Settlement along with various state laws and court rulings.”
High-level findings from the report:
►U.S. foreclosure starts were down 13 percent from the previous month and down 28 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since December 2006—a 71-month low.
►U.S. bank repossessions or real estate-owned (REO) transactions increased 11 percent from the previous month and were up five percent from November 2011, a nine-month high and the first year-over-year increase in REOs since October 2010.
►Despite the national decrease in foreclosure activity—driven largely by big year-over-year drops in California, Georgia, Michigan, Texas and Arizona—foreclosure activity increased from a year ago in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Nine states posted 12-month highs in foreclosure activity in November, including Florida, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and South Carolina.
►Florida posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the third month in a row, with one in every 304 housing units with a foreclosure filing in November, followed by Nevada, Illinois, California and South Carolina.
►Seven of the top 10 highest metro foreclosure rates nationwide were in Florida, led by Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville. The other three metros in the top 10 were in California.
►Among the five lenders involved in the National Mortgage Settlement—Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citi and Ally/GMAC—non-judicial pre-foreclosure activity (NOD, NTS) decreased 41 percent in November compared to a year ago, led by Bank of America with a 63 percent decrease and Citi with a 40 percent decrease. Meanwhile judicial pre-foreclosure activity (LIS, NFS) for the five lenders combined increased 26 percent from a year ago, led by Chase with a 114 percent increase and Wells Fargo with a 37 percent increase.
Foreclosure starts—default notices or scheduled foreclosure auctions, depending on the state—were filed for the first time on 77,494 U.S. properties in November, down 13 percent from the previous month and down 28 percent from November 2011. November’s foreclosure starts were at the lowest level since December 2006. Foreclosure starts decreased from a year ago in 28 states, including Oregon (84 percent), Pennsylvania (67 percent), California (63 percent), Arizona (59 percent), and Georgia (51 percent). Foreclosure starts increased from a year ago in 18 states, including New Jersey (538 percent), Arkansas (455 percent), New York (209 percent), Washington (97 percent), and Connecticut (95 percent).
Lenders completed the foreclosure process on 59,134 U.S. properties in November, an 11 percent increase from the previous month and a 5 percent increase from November 2011—the first year-over-year increase in bank repossessions since October 2010, when the practice of robo-signing foreclosure documents came to light and caused a sharp slowdown in foreclosure activity in the following months.
REO activity increased annually in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Some of the biggest increases were in Indiana (96 percent), Arkansas (88 percent), Missouri (87 percent), New Jersey (84 percent), and Connecticut (60 percent). REO activity decreased annually in 21 states, including Nevada (64 percent), Oregon (58 percent), Massachusetts (49 percent), Utah (47 percent), and Tennessee (22 percent).
The Florida foreclosure rate ranked highest among the states for the third month in a row. One in every 304 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing in November—more than twice the national average. A total of 29,612 Florida properties had a foreclosure filing in November, up three percent from the previous month and up 20 percent from November 2011.
Despite a 54 percent year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity, Nevada posted the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate for the second month in a row in November. One in every 390 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month.
One in every 392 Illinois housing units had a foreclosure filing in November, the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate. A total of 13,520 Illinois properties had a foreclosure filing during the month, down nine percent from the previous month to a seven-month low, but still up nine percent from November 2011—the 11th straight month where Illinois foreclosure activity has increased on a year-over-year basis.
Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation’s 10 highest were California (one in 430 housing units with a foreclosure filing), South Carolina (one in 455 housing units), Ohio (one in 458 housing units), Arizona (one in 468 housing units), Georgia (one in 494 housing units), Michigan (one in 621 housing units), and Indiana (one in every 684 housing units).
Florida cities accounted for seven of the top 10 foreclosure rates among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more. The Florida metro of Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville led the way, with one in every 158 housing units with a foreclosure filing in November—more than four times the national average.
Other Florida cities with top 10 metro foreclosure rates were Ocala at number two (one in 210 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Jacksonville at number four (one in 253 housing units); Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach at five (one in 260 housing units); Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice at eight (one in 277 housing units); Port St. Lucie at nine (one in 278 housing units); and Gainesville at 10th (one in 283 housing units).
The remaining three cities with top 10 metro foreclosure rates were in California: Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at three (one in 248 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Stockton at six (one in every 265 housing units); and Modesto at seven (one in every 270 housing units).
The three California metro areas in the top 10 all posted annual decreases in foreclosure activity while the seven Florida metro areas in the top 10 all posted annual increases in foreclosure activity.
Florida and California metro areas accounted for 16 of the top 20 highest metro foreclosure rates. Other cities with foreclosure rates in the top 20 were Rockford, Ill., at 11 (one in 290 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Chicago at 13 (one in 306 housing units); Las Vegas at 16 (one in 336 housing units); and Dayton, Ohio, at 18 (one in 338 housing units).