Foreclosures Maintain Record Rate

Bank Owned House for SaleForeclosure filings fell less than one percent in August from the record high foreclosure rate in July, according to the monthly RealtyTrac foreclosure report. Some 358,471 properties had filings, keeping activity 18% above a year ago.

One in every 357 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing during the month. After hitting a high for the year in July, bank owned properties dropped 13% indicating a slowdown in the foreclosure process by bank and mortgage servicing companies. “But we also saw a record number of properties either entering default or being scheduled for a public foreclosure auction for the first time,” said RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio.

Nevada maintained the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate, despite an 8% drop in filings from July. A total of 17,902 Nevada properties were tagged with a foreclosure notice during the month, an increase of 53% over August, 2008.

Foreclosure filings were reported on 14,940 Las Vegas properties in August, one in every 53 housing units — more than 6.7 times the national average and the highest foreclosure rate among metro areas with populations of 200,000.

Florida had the second highest rate with one in every 140 housing units getting a foreclosure filing. The Mortgage Bankers Association says 22% of all Florida homes are in default on their mortgages or in the foreclosure process. California placed in the third position with one in every 144 housing units being tagged.

Arizona placed fourth in foreclosure activity, despite a 10% month to month drop. One in 150 homes received a filing, more than double the national average. Michigan, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Georgia and Illinois round out the top 10 states with the heaviest volume of foreclosures.

Six states account for 62% of the nation’s foreclosure activity, while California REOs dropped 32% during the month. However, California posted the highest number of REOs in the country with 92,326 properties receiving a notice in August. California’s total was down 15% from the previous month and off 9% from August, 2008 — the first year-over-year decrease in California foreclosure activity in the six years RealtyTrac has been tracking foreclosures.

A total of 62,401 Florida properties received foreclosure filings in August, the nation’s second highest state total and an increase of more than 10% from the previous month, despite a 5% drop in REO filings.

A new law in Michigan requiring lenders to file a separate public notice of default before scheduling a foreclosure auction boosted numbers for August. A total of 9,789 of the new default notices were filed after the law took effect in August, bringing the total number of Michigan properties getting foreclosure filings to 19,359 for the month — a 134% spike from the previous month and third highest among the states.