A temporary decrease in the number of monthly foreclosures filed was the result of legislation in some states that delayed the inevitable. More than 2.2 million foreclosures have been filed so far this year, while servicers have taken back nearly 600,000 properties.
September foreclosure filings totaled 265,968, RealtyTrac reported today. Filings fell from 303,879 the prior month but were higher than 223,538 filings during September 2007.
The improvement last month was attributed to changes in state laws that have, at least temporarily, slowed down the foreclosure pace.
RealtyTrac said the findings reflected the number of properties with at least one foreclosure filing -- including notices of default, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- and were based on data from more than 1.5 million properties in 2,200 counties.
From January through September, 2,248,906 foreclosures were filed, while 765,558 were filed during the third quarter.
With 69,548 foreclosures, California again saw more than any other state -- though filings fell from 101,724 in August. The decline in the Golden State was attributed to SB 1137, which took effect in early September and requires lenders to make contact borrowers at least 30 days before filing a notice of default.
Florida followed with 47,956 foreclosures, then Nevada, which had 13,022, and Arizona, at 12,982. No. 5 was Ohio, with 11,470 foreclosures.
NODs in North Carolina dropped 66 percent to 834 because of House Bill 2623, which requires the state's commissioner of banks to be notified at least 45 days before NOD filings. But in Massachusetts, initial foreclosure filings soared 465 percent in September, about three months after the right-to-cure law -- which took effect in May -- required lenders to give borrowers a 90-day right-to-cure notice before initiating foreclosure.
One U.S. foreclosure was filed for every 475 households last month, improving from one foreclosure for every 416 households in August.
Nevada, with one filing for every 82 households, had the worst rate, followed by Florida, which had on foreclosure for every 178 households. California was next, with one filing for each 189 households, then Arizona, at a filing for every 201 households, and Georgia, which had one filing for every 417 households.
Six of the 10 worst cities were in California, including Stockton, which saw foreclosures filed on 3.69 percent of its housing units during the third quarter. Las Vegas had the second-worst rate: 3.48 percent.
U.S. real estate owned filings were 81,312 during September. REO filings were 90,893 the previous month and 39,802 during a year earlier.
Year-to-date REO filings were 594,667.
At 27,373, California had more REOs than any other state. Next was Florida, with 5,376, then Michigan, at 5,105 and Texas, which had 4,095. No. 5 was Ohio, at 4,059 REOs.