There was a significant uptick in foreclosure filings in July according to RealtyTrac's U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.  The company said however that filings including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions continue to ratchet down on an annual basis. 

Filings were reported on 109,434 properties during the month, up 2 percent from June but 16 percent lower than in July 2013.  One in every 1,203 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month. 

"July was the 46th consecutive month where U.S. foreclosure activity was down on a year-over-year basis," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "After nearly four years of falling foreclosures, we are starting to see evidence that foreclosure numbers are normalizing at the national level. The 16 percent decrease in July was exactly half the annual decrease we saw a year ago in July 2013, when U.S. foreclosure activity was down 32 percent on a year-over-year basis.

"The number of state and local markets with persistent foreclosure problems is becoming fewer and farther between, although there were some surprise spikes in foreclosure activity in July in markets that had previously been experiencing long-term downward trends in foreclosure activity," Blomquist noted. "For example, Houston foreclosure activity jumped 66 percent in July compared to a year ago following 23 consecutive months of decreases, and Los Angeles foreclosure activity was up 10 percent from a year ago following 31 consecutive months of decreases."

There were just under 50,000 foreclosure starts during the month, up 5 percent from July but 18 percent below the number in July 2013.  It was the 24th month in which foreclosure starts declined.  Still, fourteen states bucked the trend.  Starts in Nevada were up 128 percent from a year earlier and more modest increases were noted in Texas (+29 percent), New York (+17 percent), Massachusetts (+12 percent), and Michigan (+6 percent).

Foreclosure auctions were scheduled for the first time on a total of 51,595 properties, up 10 percent from June but 3 percent lower than a year earlier.  Auctions in judicial process states were up 26 percent on a monthly basis but down 7 percent year-over-year.  Scheduled auctions also increased in 20 states, notably in New Jersey with a 105 percent increase, Oregon which was up 50 percent, Louisiana and Utah which increased 32 percent and 30 percent respectively. 

Completed foreclosures decreased by 4 percent from June to 25,937.  This was a drop of 30 percent from July 2013 and the fewest repossessions since April 2007.  Completed foreclosures were up in Maryland by 77 percent compared to a year earlier.  California, Oregon, and New Jersey also saw a higher number of completed foreclosures than in the previous July with increases of 22, 13, and 12 percent respectively. 

Five of the most populous metropolitan areas also saw a rise in foreclosure activity, the largest in Houston which reversed a 23 month pattern of annual decreases with a year-over-year jump of 66 percent.  Scheduled foreclosure auctions were up 116 percent in the city, driving the overall increase in activity.  Washington, D.C. also saw filings increase by 24 percent on an annual basis but this was not a sudden change.  July was the 14th of the last 17 months in which foreclosure activity has increased on a year-over-year basis in the nation's capitol.

Other annual increases were noted in three major Southern California population centers.  San Diego's foreclosure filings increased by 12 percent, Los Angeles by 10 percent, and Riverside-San Bernardino by 3 percent.  All three upticks were the result of large jumps in the numbers of completed foreclosures.

Despite an annual drop of 30 percent in foreclosure activity Florida remained the state with the highest foreclosure rate for the 10th consecutive month.  One in every 469 housing units in the state had a foreclosure filing in July, more than 2.5 times the national average.  Maryland saw filings increase by 5 percent from June and 9 percent from a year earlier and with one in every 553 housing units receiving a filing in July had the nation's second highest foreclosure rate.  Activity has been increasing in the state for two straight years.

Perennial foreclosure hotspot Nevada saw a 15 percent increase in foreclosure activity compared to one year earlier putting the state in third place.  Nevada, which had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for over four years had seen its foreclosure activity decline for nine straight months before the July uptick.  One in every 639 housing units in Nevada received a filing during the month.  Heavy foreclosure activity also occurred in Illinois with one in every 747 units affected and Ohio with one in 839.