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Florida Set to Become Worst Foreclosure State in December

Foreclosure filings fall 3% in November

Dec. 13, 2012

By Mortgage Daily staff

During the past five months, foreclosure filings in California have dropped by more than a third, while Florida has seen filings jump by nearly a third -- putting the Sunshine State in position to capture the title of the state with the most foreclosure filings in December. Meanwhile, although U.S. foreclosure filings slowed last month, more foreclosures were completed.

In November, 180,817 U.S. properties were hit with a foreclosure filing. Included in filings are default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

Activity fell from a month earlier, when filings were made on 186,455 properties.

Foreclosure filings were lower as foreclosure starts fell to a 71-month low, according to Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac -- which delivered the data. RealtyTrac says it collects data from more than 2,200 U.S. counties that are home to more than 90 percent of the country's total population.

Previous data indicate that around 1,944,649 properties have faced a foreclosure filings from Jan. 1 through Nov. 30 -- though the actual number is smaller due to properties that were hit with a filing in multiple months.

Foreclosures have plummeted from a year earlier, when mortgage servicers filed a foreclosure on 224,394 homes. It was the 26th consecutive month of year-over-year declines.

The most foreclosures of any state last month were filed in California: 31,794. But filings in the Golden State tumbled 12 percent from October versus the U.S. decline of just 3 percent during the same period.

Close behind California was Florida, where filings increased to 29,612 from the prior month's 28,783.

In fact, filings have declined in California and increased in Florida each month since June, when California filings were 47,490 and just 22,421 foreclosures were filed in Florida.

The trend suggests that Florida will overtake California in December as the state with the most filings. While California foreclosures are on track to fall below 30,000 this month, Florida is poised to exceed 31,500 filings.

Illinois was No. 3 in November with 13,520 foreclosures, then 11,198 in Ohio and 8,272 in Georgia.

Only three North Dakota properties faced a foreclosure filing -- the fewest of any state.

Foreclosure filings fall 3% in November

The U.S. foreclosure rate was one filing for each 728 housing units in November. That means the share of borrowers who were hit with a foreclosure last month improved from October, when a filing was made on each 706 properties.

The rate has improved significantly from November 2011, when a filing was made on each 579 U.S. housing units.

One foreclosure was filed on each 304 properties in Florida last month, the worst rate of any state. Florida's rate deteriorated from one-in-312 during October. Pushing the state's rate higher was the Palm Beach-Melbourne-Titusville metropolitan statistical area, which had the highest rate in the nation at one filing for each 158 housing units. No. 2 Ocala had a one-in-210 rate. In fact, seven of the 10-worst MSAs were in Florida.

Nevada had a rate of one filing for each 390 properties, better than October's one-in-352.

Illinois was next with a one-in-392 rate, then California's one-in-430 and South Carolina's one-in-455. Three California MSAs were among the country's 10-worst.

The lowest rate was in North Dakota, where just one filing was made on each 105,833 housing units.

Mortgage servicers completed 59,134 U.S. foreclosures in November, climbing from 53,478 repossessions the prior month. Real-estate-owned filings were also worse than in November 2011, when 56,124 foreclosures were completed.

RealtyTrac explained that it was "the first year-over-year increase in bank repossessions since October 2010, when the practice of robo-signing foreclosure documents came to light and caused a sharp slowdown in foreclosure activity in the following months."

During the first 11 months of 2012, REO filings totaled 612,086.

Florida ascended to the top REO state position last month with 8,217 completed foreclosures, worse than October's 7,301.

California, meanwhile, slipped from No. 1 to No. 2, with repossessions falling to 7,737 from 7,813.

After that was 4,199 REO filings in Illinois, 4,123 in Georgia and 3,955 in Michigan.

North Dakota's three completed foreclosure was the fewest of any state in November.

"Foreclosures are continuing to hobble the U.S. housing market as lenders finally seize properties that started the process a year or two ago -- and much longer in some cases," Blomquist stated in the report. "We're likely not completely out of the woods when it comes to foreclosure starts, either, as lenders are still adjusting to new foreclosure ground rules set forth in the national mortgage settlement along with various state laws and court rulings."

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