While monthly foreclosure activity rose to the highest level in two years, the worst may be over.
During January, 130,511 new foreclosure filings were reported nationwide, up 19 percent from December and 25 percent higher than in January 2006, RealtyTrac announced Monday. The national foreclosure rate was one new foreclosure filing for every 886 households.
"January's foreclosure number represented the highest monthly number we've seen since we began issuing this report two years ago," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, in the written statement. "The month-over-month increase is similar to what we saw last January, when foreclosures shot up 27 percent from the previous month; however, the year-over-year increase of 25 percent is well below the 45 percent annual increase we saw in January last year."
A month-to-month increase of 8 percent in foreclosure filings pushed Nevada above Colorado for the title of the state with the highest foreclosure rate -- one new foreclosure filing for every 362 households, which is 2.4 times the national average, the announcement read.
Michigan sprinted to the second highest foreclosure rate, with one new filing for each 366 homes, due to a 70 percent jump in foreclosure activity to 11,554 filings -- which is also more than twice the number reported in January 2006, according to RealtyTrac, which touts that it publishes the largest and most comprehensive national database of pre-foreclosure and foreclosure properties.
Georgia's foreclosure rate of one new filing for every 372 properties was the third highest for the fourth month in a row. The state reported 8,328 new foreclosure filings during the month, up 29 percent from the previous month and up 13 percent from January 2006.
After claiming the top spot nine months last year, Colorado's foreclosure rate dropped to fourth highest and was followed by Arizona, Texas, Ohio, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey, according to the announcement.
Texas, for the second consecutive month in January, reported the highest number of foreclosure filings -- 14,728. California came in second with 14,430, followed by Florida's 11,709, and Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Colorado, RealtyTrac said.
Among metropolitan areas, Detroit, Mich., reportedly had the highest foreclosure rate -- one new filing for every 124 homes -- as its number of new filings more than doubled from December to 6,653.
Greeley, Colo., which had the top foreclosure rate for the five previous months, slipped to the second spot, with one new foreclosure filing for every 173 households, RealtyTrac reported.
A 25 percent increase in new foreclosure filings during January gave the Atlanta metropolitan area the nation's third highest metro foreclosure rate, with one new foreclosure filing for every 214 households, according to the announcement.
Competing publication ForeclosureS.com Monday reported that a total 103,075 filings were reported nationally in January and that the Southwest led the nation in foreclosures by accounting for 50,404 of the month's filings -- more than half the filings for the region in the entire first quarter 2006.
California's 25,107 filings, Texas' 10,296, and Colorado's 4,968 continued to be among the top 5 states nationally in foreclosure filings, ForeclosureS.com said. However, in other states of the region, such as Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, the number of filings were flat to down.
"As I've said before, the worst is over," ForeclosureS.com President Alexis McGee said in the announcement. "But we're not through yet with the aftereffects of all the people who used creative financing to buy homes beyond their means. As home prices have stagnated, equity eroded, and mortgage payments adjusted higher, these homeowners have little other option to foreclosure."
ForeclosureS.com suggested that many of the nation's foreclosures occur because no effort is done on the borrower's part to prevent the event.
"You would be amazed at the number of people who fall behind on their mortgage payments and lose their homes to foreclosure that never bothered to call their lender until it was too late," ForeclosureS.com said, adding that research has shown that 61 percent of delinquent borrowers were unaware of workout options with their mortgage.