Depending on whether the data was based on a judicial or non-judicial state, foreclosure activity told different stories in RealtyTrac’s Foreclosure Market Report released today for February 2012.
When clumping states together based on foreclosure processes, February foreclosure activity in the 26 judicial states increased 24 percent from February 2011 and 2 percent from the previous month of January. For the 24 non-judicial states, the numbers moved in near opposite directions, with foreclosure activity decreased to 23 percent from February 2011 and down 5 percent from January, according to a RealtyTrac release.
Overall, foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions — were reported on 206,900 properties in February, down 2 percent from the previous month and 8 percent a year ago from February 2012, which is the lowest decrease since October 2010, according to RealtyTrac.
“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,” said Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac. “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 metro areas, 10 of the nation’s largest 20 reported year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity in February, with Florida cities Tampa (+64 percent) and Miami (+53 percent) posting the highest increases.
Most of the metro areas with decreases were in the West, led by Seattle (-59 percent) and Phoenix (-43 percent), which corresponds to a recent ForeclosureRadar report showing decreases in foreclosure filings in February for most West coast states.
The metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates were Riverside-San Bernardino in California (one in 166 housing units), Atlanta (one in 244), Phoenix (one in 259), Miami (one in 264) and Chicago (one in 302).
The metro areas with the highest number of foreclosure filings in February 2012 were Los Angeles (12,731), Chicago (12,587), Miami (9,333), Riverside-San Bernardino (9,057), and Atlanta (8,859).
While Nevada and California reached new lows in foreclosure activity and saw decreases in February, the two states still had the highest foreclosure rates despite signs of improvement. One in every 278 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month, which is twice the national average, and one in every 283 housing units had a foreclosure filing in California.
With one in every 312 Arizona housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month, the state stood at number three.
Default notices were filed on 58,886 U.S. properties in February, up 1 percent from the previous month but still down 7 percent a year ago. Foreclosure auctions were scheduled on 84,180 homes down 2 percent from January and down 13 percent. REO properties totaled 63,834, a 4 percent decrease from January and down 1 percent from February 2011.
States with the greatest increase on a year-over-year basis for default notices were Hawaii (321 percent increase), Maryland (+157 percent), Connecticut (+64 percent), South Carolina (+58 percent), and Indiana (+37 percent).
Default notices were down on a year-over-year basis in several states including Nevada (-89 percent), Michigan (-72 percent), New York (-44 percent), Iowa (-28 percent), and Kentucky (-25 percent).
For Nevada, the major decrease in default notices has been credited to recent state legislation requiring lenders to file an extra affidavit before initiating the foreclosure process.
States with the greatest increase on a year-over-year basis for scheduled auctions were Kentucky (+190 percent), Illinois (+170 percent), Iowa (+98 percent), Pennsylvania (+95 percent), and Indiana (+92 percent).
REO activity increased at least 20 percent on a year-over-year basis in 17 states, including Massachusetts (+114 percent), North Carolina (+95 percent), Florida (+90 percent), South Carolina (+87 percent), and Georgia (+76 percent).