For fifty consecutive months foreclosure notices filed against U.S. homes have risen on a year over year basis, according to the latest Realty Trac monthly report. Notices of foreclosure activity were filed against 308,524 properties in February.
Foreclosure auctions, including notices of Trustee’s Sales and Notices of Sheriff’s Sales, the last steps in the foreclosure process were scheduled on 123,633 properties nationwide, a 16% increase over year-ago levels. However, scheduled auctions were down 14% from their peak last August.
The report also shows a slight 2% decrease from January figures, but still marks 6% above year-ago figures. “This leveling of the foreclosure trend is not necessarily evidence that fewer homeowners are in distress,” said Realty Trac CEO James Saccacio. “But rather that foreclosure prevention programs, legislation and other processing delays are in effect capping monthly foreclosure activity – albeit at a historically high level that will likely continue for an extended period.”
Nevada, Arizona and Florida, which have been hot beds for foreclosure activity top state foreclosures. Six states account for 60% of all activity. Nevada saw a drop of 7% during the month, but the state’s foreclosure rate ranked highest for the 38th straight month. Las Vegas still leads the state in the sheer volume of foreclosures.
Arizona and Florida had nearly identical rates of activity with one of every 163 residential units getting a foreclosure notice. California ranked fourth highest on the list with one in 195 housing units. Michigan was fifth as high unemployment impacts the Detroit area, keeping it near the top in foreclosures.
Notices of default, regularly the first step in the foreclosure process were filed against 106,208 properties in February. Default notices were down 25% from their peak of 142,000 in April, 2009.
The drop is attributed to delays in processing foreclosures, which have been back-logged as a result of government programs to modify mortgages, state legislation forcing bankers to work with mortgage holders at risk of foreclosure and lenders waiting for new programs to be announced by the Obama administration.