|The number of total foreclosure filings was up for the second month in a row, bloating the inventory as the completed foreclosure count diminished
Last month, 57,259 U.S. foreclosures were started, climbing 10 percent from the number of starts in December. Compared to January 2013, foreclosure starts fell 12 percent.
More foreclosures were started in Florida during January than any other state: 7,495. Texas followed with 3,579 starts, then 2,786 in New York, 2,596 in Georgia and 2,558 in Illinois. None were filed in Nebraska.
RealtyTrac released the data Thursday.
A total of 124,419 U.S. properties were hit with some sort of foreclosure filing last month, more than the 115,342 properties in the final month of last year.
It was the second month in a row filings moved higher.
Filings include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.
Activity was well short of the 150,864 residential U.S. properties hit with a foreclosure filing in January 2013. It was the 40th consecutive month that there was a year-over-year decline.
The 25,996 total filings in Florida last month was the most of any state. The Sunshine State saw its sixth consecutive month of annual declines in foreclosure activity following the passage of foreclosure fast-track legislation in July.
California was No. 2 with 14,834 filings. After that was Illinois' 8,781 foreclosures, Ohio's 5,792 and New Jersey's 5,746.
Just three total filings were made in North Dakota.
The U.S. foreclosure rate was one filing for each 1,058 housing units. The rate of foreclosures has slowed from the first month of 2013, when one filing was made for each 869 homes.
Florida's one-in-346 foreclosure rate was the worst in the nation last month. Nevada was next with one filing for each 533 housing units. Maryland followed with one-in-543, then Illinois' one-in-603 and New Jersey's one-in-619.
At just one filing for each 106,489 housing units, North Dakota had the best rate.
Mortgage servicers completed 30,226 foreclosures in January, fewer than the 31,621 repossessions in December. Activity has skidded since January 2012, when real-estate-owned filings were made on 50,453 mortgages.
REO filings were 6.319 in Florida, followed by 3,271 in California, 2,080 in Illinois, 1,641 in Georgia and 1,269 in Michigan.
Just two foreclosures were completed in North Dakota.