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U.S. Foreclosure Activity Increases 2 Percent in July According to RealtyTrac Foreclosure Market Report

Activity Down 16 Percent From a Year Ago, Continuing Nearly Four-Year Decline; Rising Foreclosure Activity Bucks National Trend in Houston, DC, Southern California

IRVINE, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 08/14/14 -- RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com), the nation's leading source for comprehensive housing data, today released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for July 2014, which shows foreclosure filings -- default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions -- were reported on 109,434 U.S. properties in July, an increase of 2 percent from the previous month but still down 16 percent from a year ago. The report also shows one in every 1,203 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.

"July was the 46th consecutive month where U.S. foreclosure activity was down on a year-over-year basis," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "After nearly four years of falling foreclosures, we are starting to see evidence that foreclosure numbers are normalizing at the national level. The 16 percent decrease in July was exactly half the annual decrease we saw a year ago in July 2013, when U.S. foreclosure activity was down 32 percent on a year-over-year basis.

"The number of state and local markets with persistent foreclosure problems is becoming fewer and farther between, although there were some surprise spikes in foreclosure activity in July in markets that had previously been experiencing long-term downward trends in foreclosure activity," Blomquist noted. "For example, Houston foreclosure activity jumped 66 percent in July compared to a year ago following 23 consecutive months of decreases, and Los Angeles foreclosure activity was up 10 percent from a year ago following 31 consecutive months of decreases."

Other high-level findings from the report:

  • A total of 49,624 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process for the first time in July, a 5 percent increase from the previous month, but still down 18 percent from a year ago -- the 24th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in U.S. foreclosure starts.

  • Despite the annual decrease nationally, foreclosure starts increased from a year ago in 14 states, including Nevada (up 128 percent), Texas (up 29 percent), New York (up 17 percent), Massachusetts (up 12 percent), and Michigan (up 6 percent).

  • A total of 51,595 U.S. properties were scheduled for foreclosure auction in July, up 10 percent from the previous month but still down 3 percent from a year ago. Non-judicial foreclosure auctions -- those in states not requiring a judge to file a judgment for the foreclosure auction to proceed -- increased 26 percent from June to July, but were still down 7 percent on a year-over-year basis.

  • Despite the annual decrease nationally, scheduled foreclosure auctions increased from a year ago in 20 states, including New Jersey (up 105 percent), Oregon (up 50 percent), Louisiana (up 32 percent), Utah (up 30 percent), Connecticut (up 18 percent), and New York (up 16 percent).

  • A total of 25,937 U.S. properties were repossessed by lenders via foreclosure (REO) in July, down 4 percent from the previous month and down 30 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since April 2007.

  • Despite the decrease nationally, bank repossessions increased from a year ago in seven states, including Maryland (up 77 percent), California (up 22 percent), Oregon (up 13 percent), and New Jersey (up 12 percent).

Rising foreclosure activity bucks national trend in five of 20 largest metro areas
Foreclosure activity increased from a year ago in five of the nation's 20 most populous metropolitan statistical areas, contrary to the national trend.

The Houston metro area posted the biggest annual increase in foreclosure activity from a year ago among the 20 largest metro areas, up 66 percent. The increase in Houston came on the heels of 23 consecutive months of decreasing foreclosure activity on an annual basis and was driven primarily by a 116 percent jump in scheduled foreclosure auctions -- the first public notice starting the foreclosure process in Texas.

Washington, D.C., documented the second highest annual increase in foreclosure activity in July, up 24 percent from a year ago. July marked 14 of the last 17 months where DC metro area foreclosure activity has increased on an annual basis.

Due to rebounding bank repossessions (REOs), Southern California metro areas posted annual increases in foreclosure activity following 31 consecutive months of decreasing activity on a year-over-year basis. San Diego overall foreclosure activity increased 12 percent from a year ago after seeing a 40 percent jump in REOs; Los Angeles overall foreclosure activity increased 10 percent from a year ago thanks to a 58 percent jump in REOs; and Riverside-San Bernardino foreclosure activity increased 3 percent from a year ago because of a 27 percent jump in REOs.

Among all 212 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more, one-third (69) posted increasing foreclosure activity from a year ago while two-thirds (143) posted decreasing foreclosure activity from a year ago.

"Just a few years ago foreclosures and short sales were a necessary part of the real estate market. Today this is no longer the case," said Greg Smith, owner/broker of RE/MAX Alliance, covering the Denver, Colo. market, where foreclosure activity decreased 15 percent from a year ago and the foreclosure rate ranked 139th out of the 212 metro areas ranked in the report. "Because of strong property appreciation and more conservative lending requirements, we are seeing very few properties go through the foreclosure process and many homeowners are no longer upside down removing the need for a short sale."

"The housing market is coming back slowly," said Sheldon Detrick, CEO of Prudential Detrick/Alliance Realty, covering the Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla. markets, which had foreclosure rates ranking No. 76 and 66 respectively in July despite an increase in activity from the previous month. "We do not have distressed properties in the market like we used to and our REO inventory continues to go down."

Florida, Maryland, Nevada, Illinois, Ohio post top state foreclosure rates
Florida foreclosure activity decreased 30 percent on a year-over-year basis in July -- the 12th consecutive month with an annual decrease -- but the state still posted the nation's highest state foreclosure rate for the 10th consecutive month. One in every 469 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing in July, more than two and a half times the national average.

Maryland foreclosure activity in July increased 5 percent from the previous month and was up 9 percent from a year ago -- continuing a two-year trend in rising foreclosure activity in the state. One in every 553 Maryland housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month, the nation's second highest state foreclosure rate for the sixth consecutive month.

Following nine consecutive months of annual decreases, Nevada foreclosure activity in July increased 15 percent from a year ago and was up 36 percent on a month-over-month basis, boosting the state's foreclosure rate to third highest nationally after ranking sixth highest in June. One in every 639 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month.

Illinois foreclosure activity decreased 9 percent from a year ago in July, the 20th consecutive month where the state's foreclosure activity has decreased on an annual basis, but Illinois still posted the nation's fourth highest foreclosure rate: one in every 747 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

Ohio foreclosure activity decreased 24 percent from a year ago in July, the 11th consecutive month where the state's foreclosure activity has decreased on an annual basis, but Ohio still posted the nation's fifth highest foreclosure rate: one in every 839 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

"The Ohio markets have noticed an overall reduction in sales volume since the first of the year as well as reduction in foreclosure sales volume throughout the state," said Michael Mahon, executive Vice President/ broker at HER Realtors, covering the Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio markets. "As prices continue to rise, our anticipation is that foreclosures will continue to decline as home owners experience restored, higher equity levels."

Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation's 10 highest in July were South Carolina at No. 6 (one in every 893 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Indiana at No. 7 (one in every 911 housing units); Delaware at No. 8 (one in every 948 housing units); Utah at No. 9 (one in every 1,010 housing units); and California at No. 10 (one in every 1,032 housing units).

Florida metros account for eight of 10 highest metro foreclosure rates
Florida accounted for the eight highest foreclosure rates among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more in July, led by Ocala at No. 1, with one in every 296 housing units with a foreclosure filing -- more than four times the national average.

The other Florida cities in the top 10 were Orlando-Kissimmee at No. 2 (one in every 357 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville at No. 3 (one every 404 housing units); Lakeland at No. 4 (one in every 407 housing units); Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach at No. 5 (one in every 421 housing units); Port St. Lucie at No. 6 (one in every 434 housing units); Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater at No. 7 (one in every 448 housing units); and Cape Coral-Fort Myers at No. 8 (one in every 478 housing units).

The two cities outside of Florida with top 10 foreclosure rates were Columbia, S.C., at No. 9 (one in every 484 housing units with a foreclosure filing); and Akron, Ohio, at No. 10 (one in every 525 housing units).

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
RealtyTrac is a leading supplier of U.S. real estate data, with nationwide parcel-level records for more than 125 million U.S. parcels that include property characteristics, tax assessor data, sales and mortgage deed records, Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) and 20 million active and historical default, foreclosure auction and bank-owned properties. RealtyTrac's housing data and foreclosure reports 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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