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REOs Worse, New Filings Better, Vermont Best


Total foreclosures improved on a monthly basis and edged up compared to last year. It’s a different story, however, for completed foreclosures — which have climbed more than 40 percent from a year ago. Vermont solidly has the fewest foreclosure problems of any state.

Servicers initiated or completed foreclosure actions on 322,920 U.S. properties last month, fewer than 333,837 reported for April by RealtyTrac. Filings included default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

But May activity was slightly worse than 321,480 foreclosure filings previously reported for a year earlier.

Year-to-date through the end of May, around 1,588,991 filings have been reported by RealtyTrac.

“Defaults and scheduled auctions combined increased by 28 percent from 2007 to 2008 and another 32 percent from 2008 to 2009 — creating a build-up of delayed bank repossessions,” RealtyTrac Chief Executive Officer James J. Saccacio said in the report. “Lenders appear to be ramping up the pace of completing those forestalled foreclosures even while the inflow of delinquencies into the foreclosure process has slowed.”

The statistics are reportedly based on RealtyTrac’s data from 2,200 U.S. counties that account for 90 percent of the country’s population.

California’s 72,030 was the most of any state and higher than April’s 69,725. Florida’s 50,685 was next, followed by Michigan’s 20,322, Arizona’s 16,097 and Illinois’ 15,061.

The fewest filings were in Vermont: 19.

At the metropolitan level, nine of the top-10 areas with the highest foreclosure rates saw an improvement from May 2009.

The U.S. foreclosure rate improved to one filing for each 400 housing units from April’s one-in-387 and May 2009’s one-in-398.

With one property facing a foreclosure for each 79 homes, Nevada had the most severe rate of any state. But Nevada improved from one-in-64 during April.

Arizona’s one-in-169 ranked it second, while Florida followed with one-in-174. One California property faced foreclosure for each 186 housing units, and No. 5 Michigan’s rate was one-in-223.

Vermont’s one-in-16,454 rate was best of all the states.

Real-estate-owned filings nationally reached 93,777, rising from April’s 92,432 and May 2009’s 65,017. From Jan. 1 through May 31, REOs totaled 444,153.

California had the most REOs: 15,946. But Golden State repossessions fell from 16,932 a month earlier.

Florida’s 10,941 was second and higher than 9,259 the prior month, and Michigan was No. 3 with 8,009.

Arizona was next with 6,112 REOs, and No. 5 was Georgia, where 5,299 foreclosures were completed.

The fewest REOs were in Vermont: 19.

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