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Foreclosure Filings Worse, REOs Better

Foreclosure

Mortgage loan servicers stepped up foreclosure filings last month, though the number of repossessions was lower. While total filings grew in Florida, the number of completed foreclosures in the state was lower even as they rose in California.

August saw 193,508 U.S. properties hit with a foreclosure filing. Foreclosures include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

Activity worsened from a month earlier, when mortgage servicers filed foreclosures on 191,925 homes.

The latest activity brought year-to-date filings to approximately 1,431,234 — though the actual year-to-date total was less since some of the same properties had filings in more than a single month. Foreclosures are on track to finish the year around 2.1 million filings.

Prior data reported by RealtyTrac indicate that filings have improved from the same month last year, when there were 228,098 foreclosures.

As has been the case during much of the financial crisis, more California properties were hit with a foreclosure than any other state: 40,200. But the state cut its filings from July, when there were 42,081 Golden State filings.

California managed to improve despite a 14 percent rise from July in Modesto, a 50 percent increase in Merced and 62 percent deterioration in Bakersfield. Even worse was Fresno, where filings were up 178 percent.

Florida foreclosures worsened, climbing to 27,422 from July’s 25,534.

Illinois followed with 17,781 August filings, then 9,478 in Georgia and 9,218 in Ohio.

“Bucking the national trend, deferred foreclosure activity boiled over in several states in August,” RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in the report. “In judicial states such as Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York, this was a continuation of a trend we’ve been seeing for several months now. The increases in Florida and Illinois pushed foreclosure rates in those states to the two highest in the country — supplanting the non-judicial states of Arizona, California, Georgia and Nevada. Previous to August, the nation’s top two state foreclosure rates have been from those four non-judicial states every month since December 2010.”

RealtyTrac only reported one foreclosure in North Dakota, fewer than any other state.

The national foreclosure rate worsened to one filing for each 681 housing units from one-in-686 in July. But the rate was better than one filing for each 570 housing units in the same month last year.

Illinois bumped California from its No. 1 standing, with the foreclosure rate in Illinois at one filing for each 298 properties. The rate in Illinois deteriorated from one-in-385 during July.

Florida had a one-in-328 rate during August, the second-worst of any state and losing ground from the previous month when the rate was one-in-352.

California’s one-in-340 rate was the third-worst last month, and the state was host to the seven metropolitan statistical areas with the highest foreclosure rates.

Arizona’s one-in-360 rate was next, then No. 4 Nevada with a one-in-402 rate. A year ago, Nevada had topped the worst-rate list for 56 consecutive months.

North Dakota’s one-in-317,498 rate in August was the best of any state.

The ultimate metric in the resolution of distressed loans is the number of completed foreclosures, which slipped to 52,380 from 53,654 in July. The improvement was more apparent when compared to August of last year’s 64,813 U.S. repossessions.

From Jan. 1 through Aug. 31, real-estate-owned filings amounted to 445,905.

California dominated completed foreclosures, with volume climbing to 7,907 from the previous month’s 7,379.

No. 2 Florida had 5,696 foreclosures completed, though that was fewer than the 6,739 REO filings in the prior report.

Georgia was third with 4,345 completed foreclosures, then 4,016 in Illinois and 3,534 in Michigan.

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