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U.S. Foreclosure Activity Increases 8 Percent in January Driven by Double-Digit Percentage Increases in Foreclosure Starts and Scheduled Foreclosure Auctions

Bank Repossessions Decrease 4 Percent to Lowest Level Since July 2007; Foreclosure Starts Increase More Than 50 Percent Annually in MD, CT, NJ, CA

IRVINE, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 02/13/14 -- RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com), the nation's leading source for comprehensive housing data, today released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for January 2014, which shows foreclosure filings -- default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions -- were reported on 124,419 U.S. properties in January an 8 percent increase from December but still down 18 percent from January 2013. The report also shows one in every 1,058 U.S. housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month.

January marked the 40th consecutive month where U.S. foreclosure activity declined on an annual basis, but the annual decline of 18 percent was the smallest annual decline since September 2012, and the 8 percent monthly increase was the biggest month-over-month increase since May 2012.

"The monthly increase in January foreclosure activity was somewhat expected after a holiday lull, but the sharp annual increases in some states shows that many states are not completely out of the woods when it comes to cleaning up the wreckage of the housing bust," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "The foreclosure rebound pattern is not only showing up in judicial states like New Jersey, where foreclosure activity reached a 40-month high in January, but also some non-judicial states like California, where foreclosure starts jumped 57 percent from a year ago, following 17 consecutive months of annual decreases."

High-level findings from the report:

  • A total of 57,259 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process for the first time in January, up 10 percent from the previous month but still down 12 percent from January 2013 -- the 18th consecutive month where foreclosure starts have decreased annually.

  • Counter to the national trend, January foreclosure starts increased from a year ago in 22 states, including Maryland (up 126 percent), Connecticut (up 82 percent), New Jersey (up 79 percent), California (up 57 percent), and Pennsylvania (up 39 percent).

  • Scheduled foreclosure auctions (which are also foreclosure starts in some states) increased 13 percent in January compared to the previous month but were still down 8 percent from a year ago -- the 38th consecutive month where U.S. scheduled foreclosure auctions have decreased annually.

  • Counter to the national trend, scheduled foreclosure auctions increased from a year ago in 27 states, including Oregon (up 326 percent), Connecticut (up 223 percent), Maryland (up 113 percent), New York (up 73 percent), and Nevada (up 73 percent).

  • Scheduled foreclosure auctions in New York were at the highest monthly level since October 2010 -- a 39-month high -- and scheduled foreclosure auctions in Nevada were at the highest level since February 2012 -- a 23-month high.

  • There were a total of 30,226 U.S. bank repossessions (REO) in January, down 4 percent from the previous month and down 40 percent from January 2013 to the lowest level since July 2007 -- a 78-month low.

  • Counter to the national trend, 12 states posted annual increases in REO activity in January, including New York (up 118 percent), Oklahoma (up 93 percent), Connecticut (up 75 percent), New Jersey (up 26 percent), and Maryland (up 11 percent).

  • States with the highest foreclosure rates in January were Florida, Nevada, Maryland, Illinois, and New Jersey.

  • Among the nation's 20 most populated metropolitan statistical areas, the highest foreclosure rates were in Miami, Tampa, Chicago, Baltimore and Riverside-San Bernardino in Southern California. Only four of the 20 largest metro areas posted annual increases in foreclosure activity: Baltimore (up 119 percent), New York (up 40 percent), Washington, D.C. (up 38 percent), and Philadelphia (up 14 percent).

Local broker quotes
"Ohio's foreclosure rate increased 23 percent for the month of January 2014 compared to December of 2013, but the added inventory is being absorbed quickly in the market due to low available inventory of single-family home listings," said Michael Mahon, executive vice president/broker at HER Realtors, covering the Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio markets. "Despite this increase in foreclosure activity, all signs in Ohio point to continued, positive growth of appreciation in single-family home prices as well as homeowner equity for 2014."

"Foreclosure activity in Oklahoma is continuing to wind down," said Sheldon Detrick, CEO of Prudential Detrick/Alliance Realty covering the Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla., markets. "I wouldn't say it's over, but it's definitely winding down, which has resulted in multiple offers on every REO that is listed with many of them selling for higher than the listing price."

Florida, Nevada and Maryland post top state foreclosure rates
Florida foreclosure activity in January increased 19 percent from December but was down 13 percent from January 2013 -- the sixth consecutive month with an annual decrease in foreclosure activity following passage of foreclosure fast track legislation there in July. Despite the downward trend in foreclosure activity, Florida still posted the nation's highest state foreclosure rate: one in every 346 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

Florida foreclosure starts jumped 43 percent from December to January, but were still down 33 percent year over year, while scheduled foreclosure auctions increased 28 percent from December and also were up 28 percent from a year ago to the highest monthly level since October 2010 -- a 39-month high.

Scheduled foreclosure auctions in Nevada were at a 23-month high in January thanks to a 43 percent month-over-month spike in the numbers, which were up 73 percent from January 2013. Nevada foreclosure starts and bank repossessions were still down from a year ago, but the state still posted the nation's second highest foreclosure rate: one in every 533 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

Maryland overall foreclosure activity increased on a year-over-year basis for the 19th consecutive month in January, helping the state post the nation's third highest foreclosure rate for the month: one in every 543 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation's 10 highest in January were Illinois (one in every 603 housing units with a foreclosure filing), New Jersey (one in every 619 housing units), Connecticut (one in every 752 housing units), Delaware (one in every 818 housing units), South Carolina (one in every 850 housing units), Ohio (one in every 885 housing units), and California (one in every 921 housing units).

Metro foreclosure rates and activity
Eight of the top 10 foreclosure rates in January among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more were in Florida, led by Port St. Lucie with one in every 211 housing units with a foreclosure filing -- more than five times the national average.

Other Florida metros with foreclosure rates ranking among the nation's 10 highest in January were Miami at No. 2 (one in every 239 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville at No. 3 (one in every 279 housing units); Lakeland at No. 4 (one in every 294 housing units); Ocala at No. 5 (one in every 330 housing units); Orlando at No. 6 (one in every 358 housing units); Tampa at No. 7 (one in every 389 housing units); and Jacksonville at No. 9 (one in every 410 housing units). Orlando and Tampa were the only two Florida metros in the top 10 where foreclosure activity did not increase from December to January.

Foreclosure activity in Atlantic City, N.J. increased 117 percent from a year ago and the metro area's foreclosure rate -- one in every 400 housing units with a foreclosure filing in January -- ranked No. 7 for the month. One in every 421 housing units in Rockford, Ill., had a foreclosure filing in January, the nation's 10th highest metro foreclosure rate for the month despite a 37 percent year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity.

Report methodology
The RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report provides a count of the total number of properties with at least one foreclosure filing entered into the RealtyTrac database during the month -- broken out by type of filing. Some foreclosure filings entered into the database during the month may have been recorded in previous months. Data is collected from more than 2,200 counties nationwide, and those counties account for more than 90 percent of the U.S. population. RealtyTrac's report incorporates documents filed in all three phases of foreclosure: Default -- Notice of Default (NOD) and Lis Pendens (LIS); Auction -- Notice of Trustee's Sale and Notice of Foreclosure Sale (NTS and NFS); and Real Estate Owned, or REO properties (that have been foreclosed on and repurchased by a bank). The report does not count a property again if it receives the same type of foreclosure filing multiple times within the estimated foreclosure timeframe for the state where the property is located.

Report License
The RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report is the result of a proprietary evaluation of information compiled by RealtyTrac; the report and any of the information in whole or in part can only be quoted, copied, published, re-published, distributed and/or re-distributed or used in any manner if the user specifically references RealtyTrac as the source for said report and/or any of the information set forth within the report.

Data Licensing and Custom Report Order
Investors, businesses and government institutions can contact RealtyTrac to license bulk foreclosure and neighborhood data or purchase customized reports. For more information please contact our Data Licensing Department at 800.462.5193 or [email protected].

About RealtyTrac Inc.
RealtyTrac (www.realtytrac.com) is the nation's leading source of comprehensive housing data, with more than 1.5 million active default, foreclosure auction and bank-owned properties, and more than 1 million active for-sale listings on its website, which also provides essential housing information for more than 100 million homes nationwide. This information includes property characteristics, tax assessor records, bankruptcy status and sales history, along with 20 categories of key housing-related facts provided by RealtyTrac's wholly-owned subsidiary, Homefacts®. RealtyTrac's foreclosure reports and other housing data are relied on by the Federal Reserve, U.S. Treasury Department, HUD, numerous state housing and banking departments, investment funds as well as millions of real estate professionals and consumers, to help evaluate housing trends and make informed decisions about real estate.

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