|U.S. foreclosure activity was lower last month. But the numbers deteriorated in California.
Mortgage servicers made foreclosure filings on 212,764 U.S. properties during July, fewer than 222,740 in June, RealtyTrac reported.
Filings -- including default notices, scheduled auctions and completed foreclosures -- sank compared to 325,229 in August 2010. It was the 10th consecutive month that fewer properties faced foreclosure than in the year-earlier period.
Year-to-date July 31, around 1,383,166 filings have been made.
With 56,193 properties hit with a filing last month, California ranked highest among all states. California's foreclosures grew from 54,087 in June.
Behind California were 22,337 filings in Florida, followed by Georgia's 11,461, Michigan's 10,894 and Illinois' 10,627.
Vermont ranked as the state with the lowest activity: 11 properties.
The nation had a foreclosure rate of one filing for each 611 housing units. That was better than the one-in-584 rate a month earlier and a vast improvement from one-in-397 a year earlier.
But the improving numbers are somewhat deceiving, according to RealtyTrac Chief Executive Officer James Saccacio.
"It appears that the foreclosure processing delays, combined with the smorgasbord of national and state-level foreclosure prevention efforts -- including loan modifications, lender-borrower mediations and mortgage payment assistance for the unemployed -- may be allowing more distressed homeowners to stave off foreclosure," Saccacio said in the report.
Nevada maintained its dominance among states with high rates. At one filing for each 115 housing units, however, Nevada's rate eked out an improvement from one-in-114 the previous month.
California had the next-highest rate: one-in-239. Arizona followed with one-in-273, then one-in-355 in Georgia and Utah's one-in-373.
With a rate of only one foreclosure for every 28,568 housing units, Vermont sported the most impressive standing.
Moving on the real-estate-owned filings, 67,829 U.S. properties completed the foreclosure process last month. REO filings totaled 68,851 in June and 92,858 in July 2010.
From January to July, 488,137 REOs have been filed.
California's 13,092 REOs topped the state ranking, and completed foreclosures the state increased from 12,286 the previous month.
Georgia had 5,373 repossessions, ranking it No. 2. Florida's 4,884 finished foreclosures followed, then 4,321 in Texas and 3,984 in Michigan.
The fewest final foreclosure filings could be found in Vermont: 11.