RealtyTrac has released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for April 2013, which shows foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 144,790 U.S. properties in April, a decrease of five percent from the previous month and down 23 percent from April 2012. Total foreclosure activity in April was at the lowest level since February 2007, a 74-month low. The report also shows one in every 905 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month. “The April numbers indicate that the pig is moving through the python when it comes to deferred foreclosures in judicial foreclosure states,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Foreclosure starts have been increasing for several months in many of the judicial states, and now that increased volume is showing up in the second stage of the process: the public foreclosure auction. Scheduled foreclosure auctions in judicial states jumped to a 30-month high in April, evidence that lenders are serious about moving forward with completing the foreclosure process — either through repossession or sale to a third party investor at public auction." High-level findings from the report: ► Scheduled judicial foreclosure auctions (NFS) increased 22 percent from March to April and were up 31 percent from a year ago to the highest level since October 2010 — a 30-month high. ► Scheduled foreclosure auctions increased from a year ago in 15 of the 26 judicial or quasi-judicial foreclosure states, including Maryland (199 percent increase), New Jersey (91 percent increase), Ohio (73 percent increase), Oklahoma (57 percent increase), and Florida (55 percent). Scheduled foreclosure auctions reached a 68-month high in Ohio, a 31-month high in Maryland, a 27-month high in New Jersey, and an 18-month high in Oklahoma. ► Scheduled non-judicial foreclosure auctions (NTS) in April were down 7 percent from March and down 43 percent from April 2012 to the lowest level since December 2005 — an 88-month low. ► A total of 70,133 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in April, down 4 percent from the previous month and down 28 percent from a year ago. ► Despite the nationwide decline, 22 states reported increasing foreclosure starts from the previous month, including New Jersey (138 percent increase), Connecticut (46 percent increase), Texas (37 percent increase), Georgia (35 percent increase), Oregon (16 percent increase), and California (13 percent increase). Foreclosure starts reached a 36-month high in Connecticut, a 27-month high in New Jersey, and were up on a monthly basis for the third consecutive month in California after hitting a 90-month low in January, when new legislation impacting the foreclosure process took effect. ► Lenders repossessed 34,997 U.S. properties in April, down 20 percent from March and down 32 percent from April 2012 to the lowest level since July 2007 — a 69-month low. ► Lender repossessions (REO) decreased from a year ago in 37 states and the District of Columbia in April, but some notable exceptions where REO activity increased from a year ago included Washington (164 percent increase), Maryland (98 percent increase), Oklahoma (19 percent increase), and Ohio (17 percent increase). ► Nevada posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the second month in a row despite a 15 percent monthly decrease in foreclosure activity. ► Akron, Ohio, posted the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate in April thanks in part to a 147 percent annual increase in overall foreclosure activity. One other Ohio city (Columbus), along with five Florida cities, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Chicago also registered top 10 metro foreclosure rates in April. ► As of the beginning of May, A total of 11.3 million mortgages nationwide were seriously underwater, meaning combined amount of mortgages secured by the home was at least 25 percent more than the estimated value of the home. That represented 26 percent of all outstanding mortgages, but was down nearly 1.5 million from the 12.8 million seriously underwater mortgages in May 2012. “Meanwhile, foreclosure starts are bouncing higher in a handful of non-judicial states where servicers are adjusting to legislation designed to prevent improper foreclosures,” Blomquist continued. “This includes Nevada, Washington and Arkansas, where foreclosure starts have been increasing on an annual basis since late 2012, along with Oregon and California, where foreclosure starts are still down from a year ago but have been moving steadily higher in recent months.” Nevada’s foreclosure rate ranked highest among the states for the second month in a row in April, reporting one in every 360 housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month — more than twice the national average. A total of 3,227 Nevada properties had a foreclosure filing in April, down 15 percent from the previous month and down 17 percent from a year ago—although Nevada foreclosure starts (NODs) were still up 40 percent on an annual basis. Florida foreclosure starts dropped 27 percent from March to April, but for the second month in a row the state posted the nations’ second highest foreclosure rate: one in every 363 housing units with a foreclosure filing. Although the state’s foreclosure starts decreased annually for the second straight month, scheduled foreclosure auctions in Florida (NFS) increased 55 percent from a year ago in April—the fourth straight month with an annual increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions. Florida REOs in April increased 9 percent from a year ago, and the state has posted annual increases in REOs in 15 of the last 16 months. Ohio REOs and scheduled foreclosure auctions (NFS) both increased on an annual basis in April, helping boost the state’s foreclosure rate to the nation’s third highest: one in every 427 housing units with a foreclosure filing. April was the first month since November 2007 that Ohio’s foreclosure rate has ranked in the top three. A total of 11,991 Ohio properties had a foreclosure filing in April, up 12 percent from March and up 23 percent from April 2012. Scheduled foreclosure auctions in Ohio jumped 33 percent from the previous month and were up 73 percent from a year ago to a 68-month high. Illinois foreclosure activity decreased 12 percent monthly and was down 17 percent annually, but the state still posted the nation’s fourth highest foreclosure rate: one in every 501 housing units with a foreclosure filing. South Carolina foreclosure activity increased 14 percent monthly and was up 21 percent annually, helping the state to post the nation’s fifth highest foreclosure rate: one in every 590 housing units with a foreclosure filing. Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 highest were Connecticut (one in every 635 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Maryland (one in every 650 housing units), Georgia (one in every 682 housing units), Delaware (one in every 703 housing units), and Arizona (one in every 726 housing units). One in every 211 housing units in Akron, Ohio, had a foreclosure filing in April, more than four times the national average and the highest foreclosure rate among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more. Another Ohio city, Columbus, also ranked among the top 10 metro foreclosure rates in April. One in every 326 Columbus housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month, sixth highest among metro areas nationwide. Five Florida cities posted foreclosure rates in April that ranked among the nation’s top 10: Ocala at No. 2 (one in every 225 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Miami at No. 3 (one in every 269 housing units); Orlando at No. 4 (one in every 287); Jacksonville at No. 7 (one in every 345 housing units); and Tampa at No. 9 (one in every 384 housing units). Other cities in the top 10 were Las Vegas at No. 5 (one in every 302 housing units); Myrtle Beach, S.C., at No. 8 (one in every 365 housing units); and Chicago at No. 10 (one in every 389 housing units).