By Ryan Jackson
More than 1-million U.S. homes had foreclosure filings of some sort filed against them in the first half of the year ( 1,045,801), according to RealtyTrac. First half foreclosure activity increased in 20 states from a year ago, including hard hit Florida, California, Illinois, Indiana, South Carolina and upscale Connecticut.
Final foreclosure activity, however, was down in the second quarter of the year, driven by a drop in formal bank repossessions. But 311,010 residential properties started the foreclosure process during the period. The increase in foreclosure starts is attributed to the nation’s largest five banks re-igniting formal foreclosures after reaching a $25-billion settlement with 49 state attorney generals in the robo-signing scandal.
California soared to become the highest state with foreclosures for the month of June, driven by an 18% hike in foreclosures during the month. It was the first time the Golden State has tallied the highest number of foreclosures after Nevada saw its volume of foreclosures slow due to a new state law going into effect requiring mortgage lenders to prove they hold title to a home before filing legal paperwork to foreclose.
“Additional scrutiny on how lenders and servicers process foreclosures, along with aggressive foreclosure prevention efforts by the federal government and several state governments, continue to keep a lid on the foreclosure problem at a national level,” said Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac.
“Still, foreclosure starts began boiling over in more markets in the first half of the year, particularly in the second quarter, when rising foreclosure starts spread from primarily judicial foreclosure states in the first quarter to more than half of all non-judicial foreclosure states in the second quarter.”
Despite a huge drop of 61% in year-over-year foreclosures, Nevada still posted the nation’s highest foreclosure rate in the first half of the year. One in 57 Nevada homes had a foreclosure filing slapped against it during the first six months of the year.
Foreclosure starts also increased 61% from the first quarter to the second quarter in Nevada, indicating that lenders are beginning to adjust to a new law that was implemented last October making it a felony for a banker to file for a foreclosure without the legal paperwork to formally prove title to the property.
While Nevada and other states are still reeling in the pains of the massive U.S. foreclosure crisis, Arizona is beginning possible signs of healing. Arizona foreclosure activity dropped 37% during the first half of the year compared to a year ago.
Georgia, however, saw foreclosure starts jolt ahead 5% during the second quarter and were up 23% from a year ago, posting the third highest rate in the nation. California was fourth overall for the first half of the year. Illinois, Michigan, Colorado, Ohio, and Utah all placed in the top ten states for foreclosure activity during the first half.