|Michigan bucked the national trend and saw more new and completed foreclosures last month. While U.S. repossessions retreated 4 percent -- completed foreclosures in Michigan jumped 19 percent.
The country's mortgage servicers filed foreclosure notices on 214,927 U.S. properties last month, RealtyTrac reported. Volume slipped from 219,258 filings during April.
Filings include notices of default and lis pendens; notices of trustee sale or foreclosure sale; and real-estate-owned filings.
RealtyTrac Chief Executive Officer James J. Saccacio continued to blame foreclosure processing delays for masking the lurking shadow inventory.
Foreclosure activity has subsided substantially since May 2010, when 322,920 U.S. properties received notices.
Year-to-date May 31, monthly filings added up to 1,160,402 -- though some properties faced notices in more than one month.
The report indicated that nearly two-thirds of last months foreclosures were filed on a non-judicial basis.
As always, more properties faced filings in California than in any other state. But with nearly a quarter of all U.S. home loans secured by properties in the Golden State, based on CoreLogic data, the high volume is to be expected. California filings declined to 51,906 from April's 55,869.
Florida's foreclosure filings followed, slipping to 19,192 last month from 19,649. Just 8 percent of all loans are in the Sunshine State.
One state where activity soured was Michigan; filings climbed to 14,614 from 12,996. But RealtyTrac's Saccacio explained that spikes in some states were the result of mortgage servicers who are inconsistently "pushing batches of bad loans through foreclosure as they overhaul their paperwork and documentation procedures and as they determine that some local markets are able to absorb more foreclosure inventor."
After that was Arizona, with 13,122 foreclosures, then Nevada's 11,039. The Silver State's standings are significant since only 1 percent of U.S. residential loans are secured by properties in Nevada.
In Vermont, just eight filings were reported by RealtyTrac -- the fewest of any state.
The U.S. foreclosure rate was one filing for each 605 housing units during May. That was an improvement compared to the one-in-593 filings reported for a month earlier and one filing for each 400 housing units a year earlier.
Nevada continued to exhibit the worst rate of foreclosures: one-in-103. But that was still an improvement from one-in-97 the previous month. Las Vegas, the worst metropolitan area, drove Nevada's poor standing with a rate of one-in-89.
Arizona's one-in-210 foreclosure rate bested its one-in-205 standing in April. After that was California's one-in-259, Michigan's one-in-311 and one filing for each 365 housing units in Utah.
Moving on to completed foreclosures, U.S. filings retreated to 66,879 in May from the prior month's 69,532. REO filings improved significantly from 93,777 reported for May of last year.
Saccacio noted that the inventory of unsold REOs increased in April and May even as new REO activity slowed during both months.
"That points to continued weak demand from buyers, making it tough for lenders to unload their REO inventory," Saccacio explained in the report. "Even at a significantly lower level than a year ago, the new supply of REOs exceeds the amount being sold each month."
From the beginning of January through the end of May, 351,457 foreclosures were completed.
California dominated the REO scene, with 10,303 foreclosures finished in May, a big decline from 13,741 in the previous report.
Michigan REOs raced up to 6,206, deteriorating from the prior month's 5,232 and propelling it to the No. 2 position.
Next were 6,082 REOs in Arizona, 4,560 completed foreclosures in Florida and 4,116 repossessions in Georgia.