The number of foreclosure filings last year was higher than previous data indicated, according to recent research.
Nearly 1.26 million foreclosures filings were reported nationwide last year, according to RealtyTrac's announced 2006 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. The figure is up 42 percent from 2005 and gives for a national foreclosure rate of one foreclosure filing for every 92 U.S. households.
"The increase in the number of properties in foreclosure was driven partly by the general slowing of overall housing sales, and partly by the impact of monthly mortgage payments increasing dramatically for homeowners who held some of the riskier types of adjustable rate and subprime mortgages," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, in the announcement. "As more and more of these loans re-set, we saw a surge to finish the year, with the fourth quarter producing more foreclosure filings than any of the three previous quarters."
The data from RealtyTrac, which claims it publishes the largest and most comprehensive national database of pre-foreclosure and foreclosure properties, differs from competing real estate foreclosure research company ForeclosureS.com, which reported that 2006's foreclosure filings amounted to 970,948 -- 51 percent above the previous year's level.
Despite the difference in numbers, RealtyTrac's Saccacio pointed out that the year-over-year increase is "certainly noteworthy."
"It's true that foreclosures could have a negative impact on the housing market if they continue to increase at this rate," Saccacio said. "And in some of the more problematic local markets they already may be contributing to slowing home price appreciation and a glut of homes for sale."
However, foreclosures are not at historically high levels and "most local markets have been able to re-absorb foreclosure homes without seeing any major damage to the local economy," he added.
Colorado took away Florida's title of the state with the highest annual foreclosure rate, as Colorado had one foreclosure filing for every 33 households, which also means the filings represented 3 percent of the state's households, RealtyTrac reported. The Centennial State's filings amounted to 54,747 -- an 85 percent jump from the number in 2005 and the eighth highest total among all states.
Although Georgia and Nevada both reported an annual foreclosure rate of one filing for every 41 properties, Georgia's 2.5 percent of households in foreclosure edged out Nevada's 2.4 percent. Georgia reported 75,975 foreclosure filings -- a 67 percent year-over-year increase -- and Nevada recorded 21,045 -- nearly three times the previous year's number, according to the announcement.
The remainder of the top 10 foreclosure rates belonged to Texas, which additionally held the highest share -- 13 percent -- of the nation's foreclosure filings, Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Ohio, Utah and Tennessee, RealtyTrac said.
Amongst metropolitan areas, RealtyTrac said Detroit, Mich., held the highest foreclosure rate at one filing for every 21 households -- almost five times the national average. Atlanta, Ga., had the second-highest rate, with foreclosure filings representing 4.4 percent of its households, and Indianapolis, Ind., followed, with filings representing 4.3 percent of households.
Subsequent to Texas in the number of foreclosure filings was California, with 142,429 -- more than twice the number reported in 2005. Florida had the third-highest number, 124,721, but activity remained relatively flat, compared to the prior year, and its foreclosure rate dropped to the seventh highest.
Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Colorado, New York and Indiana accounted for the rest of the states with the 10 highest number of foreclosure filings.