Foreclosure activity dipped significantly in May RealtyTrac reported on Tuesday with a decrease of 5 percent in foreclosure filings compared to those in April.  RealtyTrac's U.S. Foreclosure Market Report also noted a 26 percent decrease in filings compared to May 2013.

RealtyTrac reports on three categories of legal filings - notices of default or foreclosure starts, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions or completed foreclosures.  Aggregate filings in May numbered 109,824 or one filing for every 1,199 U.S housing units.

Foreclosures were started on 49,240 properties in May, a 10 percent decrease from April and 32 percent fewer starts than one year earlier.  It was the fewest starts recorded by RealtyTrac since December 2005, a 101-month low.

Foreclosure auctions were scheduled on 47,085 properties, down 3 percent month over month and 22 percent on an annual basis.  It was the fewest auctions scheduled in a single month since December 2006.

There were 20,373 foreclosures completed during the month, a 6 percent and a 27 percent decrease from the two earlier periods.  It was an 82 month low for completed foreclosures, the fewest since July 2007.

While foreclosure activity was down on a national basis it rose in 21 states compared to April and 11 states saw increases on an annual basis.  The largest annual increases in filings were posted in Massachusetts, up 58 percent from May 2013 to an 18 month high and New Jersey where foreclosure activity has increased on an annual basis for 23 of the last 27 months and was up 27 percent in May.  Other large annual increases were posted by New York (+18 percent), and Indiana (+12 percent).  



Foreclosure starts increased in 17 states compared to April and in 12 states on an annual basis.  There were large annual increases in Massachusetts (+178 percent), Indiana (+67 percent), and Delaware (+26 percent).  Scheduled auctions were up month-over-month in 27 states and increased annually in 16 with Utah, Oregon, and New Jersey jumping 199 percent, 157 percent, and 70 percent respectively. Twenty-five states had more bank repossessions in May than in April and 14 states posted annual increases, most notably New York which has grown annually for 16 out of the last 20 months, this time by 117 percent.  New Jersey increased for the 11th month out of 12, up 96 percent and Connecticut had a 15th consecutive increase, up 85 percent.

"It's not surprising that some of the states with the longest foreclosure timelines are those with markets still dealing with increasing foreclosure activity even as the country as a whole continues to hit new lows," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "On the other hand, the increase in bank repossessions in some states with shorter foreclosure timelines like California and Oregon demonstrates there is still some pent-up foreclosure activity in those states as well."

The nation's highest overall foreclosure rate continues to be in Florida.  Even with 10 consecutive months of annual decreases the state still had a foreclosure filing on one in every 436 housing units in May, nearly three times the national average.

Florida was followed by Maryland with a filing on one in every 621 housing units.  The state however did finally see a positive change with overall foreclosure activity down percent on an annual basis after 22 consecutive increases.

Nevada is still in the top three despite eight consecutive months with annual decreases and a 57 percent year-over-year drop in May.  One in every 717 housing unit in the state had a foreclosure filing in May.

Other states in the top five are Illinois, one in 790 housing units; Ohio, one in 805; while New Jersey, Delaware, Indiana, Connecticut, and South Carolina round out the top ten.