Mixed quarterly data leave unclear whether national foreclosure activity slowed or increased. But monthly data indicate a favorable trend.
During the second quarter, 272,109 properties across the country entered some state of foreclosure, dropping 16 percent from the first quarter, according to RealtyTrac's announcement of its latest U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. However, there are 25 percent more troubled properties than in the same period last year.
The latest numbers include June's 88,195 properties reported as being in some stage of foreclosure, which was the lowest monthly level of the year.
"Foreclosure filings in the second quarter of 2006 present a classic 'good news, bad news' scenario," said James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac chief executive, in the written statement. "A 25 percent increase from the second quarter of 2005 obviously isn't a positive trend. But, despite some of the sensational reports we've seen lately, foreclosure filings have actually slowed down since peaking in February."
Data compiled from ForeclosureS.com, which says its foreclosure property listing system covers over 948 counties nationwide and more than 1.3 million listings, showed that there were 220,154 U.S. homes in some stage of foreclosure in the second quarter, up about 2 percent from the prior quarter and 34 percent higher than the comparable period a year earlier.
RealtyTrac, which claims it is the "largest national database of pre-foreclosure and foreclosure properties, with nearly 600,000 properties in more than 2,500 counties" nationwide, said the second quarter national foreclosure rate -- one new foreclosure for every 425 U.S. households -- was higher than in any quarter of last year.
"While the nation's foreclosure rate has certainly shifted into a higher gear since last year, low unemployment and home price appreciation in most housing markets have held foreclosures in check," Saccacio said. "We forecasted a slowdown in foreclosure rates when we released our last quarterly report, and we expect that if the summer months deliver their typically high number of home buyers, the demand for housing created by these buyers should help keep foreclosure rates from rising too rapidly."
Colorado had the top foreclosure rate in the latest three-month period -- one new foreclosure filing for every 158 households, according to RealtyTrac.
Georgia, which was the leader in the first quarter, was reportedly pushed down to the second-highest foreclosure rate, substantially lower activity in June contributed to a 37-percent quarterly decrease to one new foreclosure filing for every 202 households.
Texas reported the most properties entering some stage of foreclosure during the second quarter, but had the third-highest foreclosure rate, with one for every 203 households, RealtyTrac said.
After Texas, California and Florida had the most foreclosure filings, RealtyTrac said. ForeclosureS.com also reported these states as having the highest number of filings last quarter.