A New England state saw just one foreclosure filing last month, giving it the lowest foreclosure rate in the country. But the figures weren't so good for more populated areas of the country -- where rising foreclosures are being fueled by falling values.
Foreclosure filings, including default notices, auction sales notices and bank repossessions, were 233,001 nationally during January, RealtyTrac reported today. Last month's activity was an 8 percent increase from December and a 57 percent jump from a year earlier.
The U.S. foreclosure rate was 0.028 percent in January, or 2.8 filings for every 100 households, the announcement indicated.
California saw the most activity of any state, with a total of 57,158 filings, RealtyTrac reported. Next was Florida, with 30,178 filings, then Texas, at 14,698. Ohio followed with 12,785 filings, then Michigan with 10,746.
At just one filing, Vermont saw the fewest foreclosures, the data indicated.
Based on the change from December, Delaware jumped 220 percent to 173 filings, while Rhode Island was up 181 percent to 782 filings, the report said. Connecticut was up 113 percent to 3,697 filings, Washington, D.C., increased 90 percent to 504 filings and Massachusetts was up 89 percent to 7,966 filings.
Looking at just real estate owned filings, California was worst with 10,528 filings, followed by Texas, with 5,175 filings and Ohio, with 3,775, RealtyTrac said. Florida was next with 2,899 REO filings, then Arizona, at 2,575.
The worst foreclosure rate was in Nevada, at 0.597 percent, ReatlyTrac noted. California was next, at 0.440 percent, then Florida, at 0.365 percent and Arizona, at 0.356 percent. Colorado rounded out the five states with the worst foreclosure rates at 0.333 percent.
The metropolitan area with the worst rate was Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., the announcement said. Stockton, Calif., had the second worst rate followed by Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.
Helping to fuel foreclosures was a decline in home prices -- which were down 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter from the third quarter, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight announced today. OFHEO uses data from transactions funded by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae -- both which it regulates.
Among states with the biggest property value declines were California, which saw prices drop 6.6 percent from a year earlier; Nevada, which was down 5.9 percent; and Florida, which saw values fall by 4.7 percent, according to OFHEO's data. These three states also had the highest foreclosure rates during January based on RealtyTrac's report.
Michigan saw a 4.3 percent annual home price decline, while Rhode Island was off 2.6 percent, OFHEO reported.
On the positive side, Utah saw the most appreciation of any state, at 9.3 percent, followed by Wyoming's 8.3 percent and North Dakota's 7.9 percent, OFHEO's data indicated.