Aggregate foreclosure activity as measured by foreclosure filings rose 1 percent in August compared to September but was down 15 percent from one year earlier.  According to the U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released by RealtyTrac on Thursday there were 193,508 filings during the month or one for every 681 housing units.    

RealtyTrac is an Irvine, California firm that tracks three categories of foreclosure filings gathered from county level sources. 

    Twenty states had annual increases in foreclosure activity, led by judicial foreclosure states such as New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Foreclosure activity in the 24 non-judicial states and District of Columbia combined decreased 31 percent annually, although 15 non-judicial states and DC posted monthly increases.

    Notices of Default and scheduled foreclosure auctions rose after three straight months of decline.  There were first-time filings on 99,405 properties in August, a 1 percent increase from July.  The number of filings was still down 13 percent from one year earlier a month when filings were at a 17 month high.

    Foreclosures were completed on 52,380 properties in August, down 2 percent from July and 19 percent from August 2011.  Bank repossessions have decreased on an annual basis for 22 straight months.

    Foreclosure activity is declining, albeit unevenly nationally, some states still face major problems.  In Illinois there was a 29 percent jump in overall activity in August, the 8th month when filings increased, giving the state the nation's highest rate for the first time.  A total of 17,781 properties, or in every 298 housing units, received some type of filing during the month.  The rate was up 42 percent since August 2011. Illinois saw double-digit increases in all three types of filings and scheduled auctions were up 116 percent from a year earlier.

    In Florida filings rose on an annual basis for the seventh time in the last eight months, increasing 7.39 percent from August and 16.4 percent year-over-year.  Foreclosure states increased 26 percent on an annual basis and repossessions 12 percent.  Florida has the nation's second highest foreclosure rate with one in every 328 units receiving a filing.

    The foreclosure rate is falling in California, down 32 percent since last August, but the state still maintains the number three position.  One in every 340 housing units in the state, twice the national average, had a filing in August. The other states in the top five were Arizona (one in every 360 housing units, and Nevada, (one in 402.)

    Foreclosure starts increased annually in 18 states, including Washington (143 percent), Pennsylvania (129 percent), Alabama (102 percent), New Jersey (101 percent) and New York (63 percent).  Starts were down significantly in Oregon (89 percent), Nevada (64 percent) and Utah (57 percent).  

    REO activity decreased annually in 35 states and the District of Columbia with big decreases in Nevada (76 percent), Oregon (57 percent), and Virginia (56 percent).   Washington, Utah, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Colorado all had decreases exceeding 42 percent.  Foreclosure activity was up 44 percent and 41 percent in Kentucky and Illinois respectively.

    Foreclosure activity in August increased from the previous month in eight of the 10 cities with the nation's highest foreclosure rates among metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more.

    "Bucking the national trend, deferred foreclosure activity boiled over in several states in August," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. "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.

    "Meanwhile foreclosure activity in most non-judicial states stayed on a downward trajectory in August, with a few exceptions," Blomquist continued. "Most notably, Washington State documented a 38 percent annual increase in foreclosure activity in August after 16 straight months of year-over-year declines. The rebounding activity in Washington State is likely the result of lenders catching up with foreclosures delayed by a state law that took effect in July 2011 and allowed homeowners facing foreclosure to request mediation. This rebounding pattern will likely be repeated in the coming months in other states that have passed legislation delaying the foreclosure process."