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Foreclosure Filings Fall to 6-Year Low

5% fewer properties face foreclosure filing in April

May 9, 2013

By Mortgage Daily staff

It has been 74 months since the number of total foreclosure filings has been this low. There were some states, however, where new legislation caused a bounce in new filings.

A decline was reported in the number of U.S. residential properties that had a foreclosure filing during April. Last month's 144,790 filings were fewer than the 152,500 foreclosures in March.

Activity in April was slower than any month since February 2007, when only 130,786 filings were reported.

Foreclosure filings include notices of default and lis pendens; auction, notices of trustee's sale and notices of foreclosure sale; and real estate owned properties default notices, scheduled auctions and repossessions.

The improvement was even more dramatic when compared to April 2012 -- when 188,780 properties were hit with a foreclosure filing.

While the year-to-date total is 586,907, some properties in the April report from RealtyTrac might have also had filings in the first three months of 2013.

RealtyTrac derives the statistics from its database of information collected from more than 2,200 U.S. counties that reportedly account for more than 90 percent of the country's population.

Florida maintained its position atop the ranking of states by foreclosure filings. Last month, 24,656 properties in the Sunshine State faced a foreclosure filing, fewer than 28,248 the prior month.

California held on to its No. 2 spot with 16,161 filings. also down from March, when the Golden State had 18,489 foreclosures.

No. 3 was Ohio, with 11,991 foreclosures; then 10,544 in Illinois and 5,959 in Georgia.

North Dakota had last month's best record with just 10 foreclosures.

5% fewer properties face foreclosure filing in April

There were 70,133 U.S. foreclosures starts in April, 4 percent fewer than in the previous month and 28 percent better than in April 2012.

The state lineup was nearly identical to the ranking for total filings, with Florida's 8,822 foreclosure starts leading the way. California's 8,550 was next, followed by 4,243 in Illinois, 4,055 in Texas and 3,988 in Georgia.

"Foreclosure starts are bouncing higher in a handful of non-judicial states where servicers are adjusting to legislation designed to prevent improper foreclosures," RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in the report. "This includes Nevada, Washington and Arkansas, where foreclosure starts have been increasing on an annual basis since late 2012, along with Oregon and California, where foreclosure starts are still down from a year ago but have been moving steadily higher in recent months"

One foreclosure was filed on each 905 U.S. properties in April, an improvement from the one-in-859 a month earlier. The improvement was more noteworthy when compared to the same month in 2012, when the rate was one filing for each 698 housing units.

Nevada's one-in-360 rate was higher than any state. The rate was propped up by the Las Vegas metropolitan statistical area, which with a rate of one-in-302 -- was among the 10 worst MSAs with a population of at least 200,000.

Florida's one-in-363 rate followed. The Sunshine State had five MSAs included among the MSAs with the 10-worst rates: Ocala, Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville and Tampa.

Next was Ohio's one-ine-427. The state's rate was pressured by Akron, where the one-in-211 rate was worse than any other MSA, and Columbus, which was also among the top-10 MSAs.

After that was one-in-501 in Illinois and one-in-590 in South Carolina. The 10-worst MSAs included Chicago and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

North Dakota's one foreclosure filing for each 31,552 housing units was the most favorable.

The ultimate foreclosure metric -- completed foreclosures -- was 34,997 for all U.S. properties last month, dropping from the 43,597 REO filings in March.

In the same month last year, 51,415 repossessions took place.

During the first four months of this year, 174,085 foreclosures have been completed.

Florida led the way with 6,344 REO filings in April, less than the 7,562 repossessions Florida had in the prior report.

California's finalized foreclosures fell to 2,191 from 3,410 in March.

Michigan's completed foreclosures numbered 1,981, then Georgia's 1,971 and Washington's 1,532.

Just 10 completed foreclosures in North Dakota was the best record in April.

RealtyTrac said that as of the beginning of this month, 11.3 mortgages had a loan-to-value ratio that was at least 125 percent. Still, despite their seriously underwater positions, such borrowers numbered fewer than the 12.8 million as of the same point in 2012.

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