|Last month saw a 9 percent decline in foreclosures -- though the improvement was largely the result of a bloated inventory that has yet to hit the market. Filings were up more than two-thirds in one state and down more than a third in another.
The month of April saw 219,258 U.S. properties that faced a foreclosure filing, RealtyTrac reported. Filings reflect defaults, including notices of default and lis pendens; auctions, including notices of trustee sale and notices of foreclosure sale; and repossessions that create real-estate owned assets.
In March, around 239,783 properties were hit with a filing. During the same month in 2010, foreclosures were much higher at 333,837.
"Foreclosure activity decreased on an annual basis for the seventh straight month in April, bringing foreclosure activity to a 40-month low," RealtyTrac Chief Executive Officer James J. Saccacio said in the report. "This slowdown continues to be largely the result of massive delays in processing foreclosures rather than the result of a housing recovery that is lifting people out of foreclosure."
From January through April, RealtyTrac has reported 945,475 foreclosure filings -- though some properties had filings in more than one month. RealtyTrac's year-end report will reflect a reconciled accounting of the full year.
The Golden State was a pot of gold for default services providers, with 55,869 California properties facing a filing. Florida's 19,649 foreclosures followed, then Arizona's 13,419, Michigan's 12,996 and Nevada's 11,761.
Filings jumped 67 percent in Oregon, more than any other state, while they were 37 percent lower in Kansas, the biggest improvement. In New Jersey and New York, the average timeframe from initial default notice to REO was more than 900 days in the first-quarter 2011, over three times the average in the first-quarter 2007.
Vermont's five filings last month were the fewest of any state.
On the basis of foreclosure filings per housing unit, last month's national foreclosure rate was a filing for each 593 housing units. The rate was one foreclosure filed on every 387 housing units during April of last year.
Nevada's one-in-97 rate was the worst in the nation. The rate in No. 2 Arizona was one-in-205, then California's one-in-240. Next was a rate of one-in-322 in Utah, closely followed by Idaho's one-in-325.
U.S. mortgage servicers completed 69,532 foreclosures last month, lower than 72,270 in March, according to RealtyTrac. A year earlier, 92,432 loans transitioned into REO status.
Year-to-date April 30 REO filings amounted to 284,578.
At 13,741, California topped the list of states with the most repossessions. After that were Arizona's 6,631 REOs, Michigan's 5,232 and Nevada's 4,606. No. 5 Florida came in with 4,345 REO filings.
The fewest April REOs could be found in Vermont: five.