RealtyTrac Reports 308,524 Foreclosure Filings In February, 2% Decline From January, Snow Slows Down Foreclosure Activity
RealtyTrac has reported February foreclosure activity, which at 308,524 units, was a 2% decline from January, and a 6% increase year over year. This equates to one in 418 housing units. And not surprisingly, the snow was once again implicated, this time in painting a falsely positive picture of the economy as "severe winter weather temporarily slowed the processing of foreclosure records in Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states." From Jim Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac: “The 6 percent year-over-year increase we saw in February was the smallest annual increase we’ve seen since January 2006, when we began calculating year-over-year increases, but it still marked the 50th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity. This leveling of the foreclosure trend is not necessarily evidence that fewer homeowners are in distress and at risk for foreclosure, 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." In a nutshell, the foreclosure extend and pretend got a snow day holiday in February.
A detail of the various foreclosure activity:
Default notices (Notices of Default and Lis Pendens) were reported on a total of 106,208 U.S. properties during the month, an increase of 3 percent from the previous month but down 3 percent from February 2009. Default notices were down 25 percent from their peak of more than 142,000 in April 2009 but were still more than three times the number they were four years ago in February 2006.
Foreclosure auctions (Notices of Trustee’s Sale and Notices of Sheriff’s Sales) were scheduled for the first time on a total of 123,633 U.S. properties, a decrease of 1 percent from the previous month but still 16 percent higher than the level reported in February 2009. Scheduled auctions were down 14 percent from their peak of more than 144,000 in August 2009 but were also about three times higher than the number reported in February 2006.
Bank repossessions (REOs) were reported on a total of 78,683 U.S. properties during the month, a 10 percent decrease from the previous month but an increase of 6 percent from February 2009. Bank repossessions were down nearly 15 percent from their peak of more than 92,000 in December 2009 but were at nearly twice the level reported in February 2006.
No change among the usual suspects:
Nevada foreclosure activity decreased nearly 7 percent from the previous month and was down 30 percent from February 2009, but the state’s foreclosure rate continued to rank highest in the nation for the 38th month in a row. One in every 102 Nevada housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month — more than four times the national average.
Arizona and Florida documented nearly identical foreclosure rates, with one in every 163 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in both states. Despite a nearly 21 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous month, Arizona’s rate was statistically slightly higher than Florida’s rate and ranked second highest among the states.
California’s foreclosure rate ranked fourth highest among the states, with one in every 195 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the month, and Michigan’s foreclosure rate ranked fifth highest among the states, with one in every 226 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.
Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation’s 10 highest were Utah (one in every 275 housing units), Idaho (one in 296), Illinois (one in 305), Georgia (one in 331) and Maryland (one in 407).
February showed a divergence at the top, with California improving slightly while Florida deteriorated materially.
The six states with the most foreclosure activity accounted for 61 percent of the national total in February. California led the way, with 68,562 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the month — down nearly 5 percent from the previous month and down 15 percent from February 2009.
Foreclosure activity in Florida increased nearly 15 percent from the previous month and was up more than 16 percent from February 2009. The state continued to post the nation’s second highest total, with 54,032 properties received a foreclosure filing during the month.
Increasing foreclosure activity boosted Michigan’s total to third highest among the states. A total of 20,028 Michigan properties received a foreclosure filing during the month — up nearly 14 percent from the previous month and up 59 percent from February 2009.
With 17,312 properties receiving a foreclosure filing, Illinois posted the fourth highest total, followed by Arizona, with 16,718 properties receiving a foreclosure filing, and Texas, with 12,638 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in February.
Other states with totals among the 10 highest in the country were Georgia (12,177), Ohio (11,286), Nevada (11,035), and Maryland (5,732).
Full RealtyTrac report.