US Foreclosure Filings Up 7pc on Constitution Day

September 15, 2011 / Russell Legato, Residential Property Analyst

A total of 228,098 U.S. properties have reported a surge in foreclosure filings as of August, indicating that “lenders are starting to push through some of the foreclosures delayed by robo-signing and other documentation problems” according to an expert.

US Foreclosure Filings Up 7pc on Constitution Day

RealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for August 2011, released amid Constitution Day observance, shows a 7 percent rise month-over-month in foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — among 228,098 U.S. properties, though still down nearly 33 percent from August 2010. The report also shows one in every 570 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.

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In Chicago particularly, foreclosure filings in August rose 19.5 percent from July and surged on a national scale. From August last year, though, foreclosure filings were down 28.2 percent in Metropolitan Chicago, with 11,226 homes receiving a filing last month.

On the other hand, default notices (NOD, LIS) were filed for the first time by 78,880 U.S. properties in August, a nine-month high and a 33 percent increase from July — the biggest month-over-month increase since August 2007.

Despite the monthly increase, default notices were still down 18 percent from August 2010 and were 44 percent below the monthly peak of 142,064 default notices in April 2009.

Default notices increased more than 40 percent on a month-over-month basis in several states, including New Jersey (42 percent), Indiana (46 percent) and California (55 percent), but were still down from a year ago in all of those states.

James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac said the big increase in new foreclosure actions may suggest that lenders have started pushing through some of the foreclosures delayed by robo-signing and other documentation problems.

“It also foreshadows more bank repossessions in the coming months as these new foreclosures make their way through the process.”

A total of 84,405 U.S. properties have been scheduled for foreclosure auctions (NTS, NFS) in August, 1 percent below the previous month and 43 percent down from August 2010. Foreclosure auctions plunged to a 37-month low in August, 47 percent down from the monthly peak of 158,105 scheduled auctions in March 2010.

Despite the nationwide decrease, scheduled auctions were up substantially from the previous month in several states where the auction notice is the first public notice in the foreclosure process: Oregon (19 percent), Arizona (20 percent), Georgia (22 percent), and Colorado (51 percent). Scheduled auctions were still down from a year ago in all of those states.

Lenders repossessed a total of 64,813 U.S. properties (REOs) in August, down 4 percent from the previous month and down 32 percent from a year ago. The REO total in August marked a six-month low, 37 percent below the monthly peak of 102,134 bank repossessions in September 2010.

Nevada posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 56th straight month in August, with one in every 118 housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month. There were a total of 9,677 Nevada properties with foreclosure filings in August, a 3 percent below the previous month and a 28 percent decrease from August 2010.

A 30 percent month-over-month drop in scheduled auctions has spurred Nevada’s overall decrease and a 6 percent month-over-month decrease in REOs. Default notices in Nevada increased 31 percent from July, but were still down 32 percent from August 2010.

A 55 percent month-over-month increase in default notices helped keep California’s foreclosure rate second highest among the states in August. One in every 226 California housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month — more than twice the national average. Scheduled auctions and REOs in California were down on both a monthly and annual basis.

With one in every 248 housing units with a foreclosure filing in August, Arizona posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate for the second month in a row. Scheduled foreclosure auctions in the state increased 20 percent from the previous month, but were still down 31 percent from August 2010. Arizona REOs decreased 6 percent from the previous month and were down 36 percent from August 2010.

Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 were Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Florida, Illinois, Colorado and Utah.

Five states accounted for 53 percent of U.S. foreclosure activity in August, with California leading the pack, where 59,383 properties had foreclosure filings during the month.

Florida posted the second highest state total: 23,569 properties with foreclosure filings in August — 5 percent up from July, but still down 59 percent from August 2010.

Michigan recorded 13,016 properties with foreclosure filings in August, the third highest state total, and Illinois documented 12,493 properties with foreclosure filings, the fourth highest total.

Georgia posted the fifth highest state total: 11,743 properties with foreclosure filings in August — an increase of 2 percent from the previous month, but still down 28 percent from August 2010.

A 30 percent month-over-month increase in default notices helped Las Vegas maintain the nation’s highest foreclosure rate among metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more. One in every 103 Las Vegas housing units had a foreclosure filing in August — more than five times the national average.

Stockton, Calif., which ranked fourth, was the only metro area in the top 10 that did not post a double-digit monthly increase in default notices. Stockton’s default notices increased 7 percent on a month-over-month basis in August after increasing 96 percent on a month-over-month basis in July.

The remainder of the metro areas in the top 10 all posted double-digit percentage increases in defaults from the previous month: Modesto, Calif., at No. 2 (57 percent increase); Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., at No. 3 (68 percent increase); Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., at No. 5 (59 percent increase); Sacramento, Calif., at No. 6 (76 percent increase); Bakersfield, Calif., at No. 7 (44 percent increase); Fresno, Calif., at No. 8 (95 percent increase); Visalia-Porterville, Calif., at No. 9 (97 percent increase); and Reno, Nev., at No. 10 (23 percent increase).

Next week will see another round of updates to monthly US housing data beginning Tuesday when the Census Bureau releases August 2011 housing starts statistics, according to Standard & Poor’s.

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