Foreclosure filings during the month of
February were down 2 percent from filings in January and 8 percent from the
pace set in February 2011. Data released
on Thursday by RealtyTrac indicate that 206,900 U.S. properties were the subject
of a filing during the month. This
equates to one in every 637 U.S. housing units.
RealtyTrac, based in Irvine, California,
compiles a U.S. Foreclosure Market ReportTM each month by tracking documents
filed in all three stages of foreclosure:
of Default (NOD) and Lis
Pendens (LIS). This is the first legal notification from a lender that the
borrower on a mortgage loan has defaulted under the terms of their mortgage and
the lender intends to foreclose unless the loan is brought current.
- Notice of Trustee Sale and Notice of Foreclosure Sale (NTS and NFS): if the borrower does not catch up on their payments the
lender will file a notice of sale (the lender intends to sell the property).
This notice is published in local paper and contains information pertaining to
the date, time and subject property address.
Estate Owned or REO properties
: "REO" stands for "real estate owned" and typically refers
to the inventory of real estate that banks and mortgage companies have
foreclosed on and subsequently purchased through the foreclosure auction if
there was no offer higher than the minimum bid.
Nationally foreclosure filings
decreased in two categories but default notices (NOD, LIS) increased one
percent from January. First-time filings
affected a total of 58,886 properties during the month; this was a 7 percent
decrease from the same month in 2011. Despite the graduate waning of the
foreclosure crisis on a national basis, some states are exhibiting significant
growth in some types of filings.
Default notices increased more than 30
percent in several states, all of them with judicial or quasi-judicial
foreclosures processes. The biggest
increases were in Hawaii (+321 percent), Maryland (+157 percent), Connecticut (+64
percent), South Carolina (+58 percent), Indiana (+37 percent) and Pennsylvania (+35
percent.) There were also states which
saw a big drop in default notices; Nevada (-89 percent), Michigan (-72
percent), New York (-44 percent), Iowa (-28 percent) and Kentucky (-25
percent). The decrease in Nevada is
partially the result of a new law that requires an additional document to be
filed before a notice of default.
Foreclosure auctions (NTS, NFS) were
scheduled for the first time on 84,180 U.S. properties in February, down 2
percent from January and down 13 percent from February 2011. Here again there was a lot of variability
among the states. In 7 states there were
increases of 50 percent or more in these filings compared to one year earlier
including Kentucky (+190 percent), Illinois (+170), Iowa (+98 percent),
Pennsylvania (+95 percent), Indiana (+92 percent), and Minnesota (+88 percent)
and Maryland (66 percent.)
A total of 63,834 properties were
taken into REO in February, down 4 percent from January and 1 percent from a
year earlier. States with annual increases
over 50 percent included Massachusetts (+114 percent), North Carolina (95
percent), Florida (+90 percent) South Carolina (+87 percent), Georgia (+76
percent) and Connecticut (+66 percent).
"February's numbers point to a
gradually rising foreclosure tide as some of the barriers that have been
holding back foreclosures are removed," said Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac.
"Although national foreclosure activity was pushed lower by decreases in a
handful of larger states, 21 states posted annual increases in foreclosure
activity, the most states with annual increases since November 2010.
"The foreclosure and mortgage
settlement filed in court earlier this week will help pave the way to a
properly functioning foreclosure process by providing a clear roadmap for
necessary foreclosures," Moore continued. "That should result in more states
posting annual increases in the coming months. Not surprisingly, many of the
biggest annual increases in February were in states with the more bureaucratic
judicial foreclosure process, which resulted in a larger backlog of
foreclosures built up over the last 18 months in those states."
For the 62 consecutive months Nevada
has led the nation in foreclosure activity although February filings represented
a 58 month low. One in every 278 housing
units in the state had a foreclosure filing in February, more than twice the
national average. California posted the
nation's second highest rate in February although foreclosure activity was at a
51-month low. A total of 48,422 California properties had a foreclosure filing
during the month, one in every 283 housing units. Arizona was the third most active state and
filings there increased for the second month in a row due mainly to a 33
percent jump in scheduled auctions. One
in every 312 housing units received a riling during the month.
The complete report and related
statistics can be read here.