The annual volume of borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosures skyrocketed, with activity being heaviest in the Southwest.
In 2006, foreclosure filings amounted to 970,948 -- rising more than 51 percent above the 641,000 filed in the previous year, ForeclosureS.com announced today.
The regional foreclosure leader of the nation last year was the Southwest -- as one out of nearly 2.2 foreclosures in the nation occurred there. California led in the number of foreclosures for this region -- and nationwide, with 157,417 foreclosure filings surging 94 percent above the level in 2005. Texas experienced a 35 percent annual upturn to 106,845 filings for the second-highest number in the region, followed by Colorado, which reported a 55 percent increase to 68,310, according to the announcement.
While Nevada wasn't among the Southwest's top three, its 24,194 filings last year jumped a "staggering" 174.8 percent above 2005 and more than 7,000 came from Clark County in the fourth quarter alone, ForeclosureS.com noted.
In the Southeast, foreclosure filings climbed 37 percent over the year to 220,189, the online service provider said. Florida, with 120,989 filings rising 27 percent above the previous year, led the region but lost its distinction as the nation's foreclosure leader, falling to No. 2 behind California.
The Midwest posted 204,656 foreclosure filings, or 70 percent more than in 2005, the real estate investment advisory firm and publisher of foreclosure property information said. Filings reportedly hit triple-digit increases in Iowa and Kansas, while many other states in the region, including Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and North Dakota, struggled with increases of 80 to 96 percent.
The Northeast ended 2006 with 96,101 foreclosure filings -- up almost 65 percent from a year earlier, fueled by a fourth-quarter filings scramble in metropolitan areas of New York and Boston, and across northern New Jersey, the online real estate investment advisory firm and publisher of foreclosure property information reported.
Despite such statistics, ForeclosureS.com President Alexis McGee said the "worst is over" on a national basis. "Home inventories now are dropping and markets are improving."
Perhaps indicative of better times ahead, is the fact that four states in the Southwest, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Oregon, saw a drop in filing in the fourth quarter from the third quarter, ForeclosureS.com said.
Serdar Bankaci, president and chief executive of Default Research, a competing real estate foreclosure research company, forecast that the foreclosure rate will continue to increase in 2007 -- but "not as much as 2006."