The September and third-quarter foreclosure numbers show a housing market that is haltingly returning to health. —RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist
SALT LAKE CITY — Foreclosure filings in the U.S. climbed 2 percent in September from the previous month but decreased 27 percent from the third quarter a year ago, according to RealtyTrac's U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released Thursday.
The report indicated that September was the 36th consecutive month with an annual decrease in U.S. foreclosure activity, a downward trend that started in October 2010 when lenders and servicers were accused of improperly signing off on foreclosure documents with a practice dubbed “robo-signing.”
Third-quarter foreclosure activity fell to the lowest quarterly level since the second quarter of 2007, with a 7 percent decrease from the previous quarter and a 29 percent decline from the third quarter of last year — the biggest annual decrease since the second quarter of 2011.
Nationally, one in every 348 housing units had a foreclosure filing during the three-month period. Utah ranked No. 11, with one in every 285 units in some stage of foreclosure.
Florida foreclosure activity in the third quarter decreased 8 percent from a year ago following six consecutive quarters with annual increases, but the state still posted the nation’s highest foreclosure rate for the period, the report stated. The Sunshine State posted a rate of one in every 126 housing units registering a foreclosure filing — more than twice the national average.
Nevada foreclosure activity for the period increased 10 percent from the previous quarter and climbed 21 percent over 2012. The Silver State’s foreclosure rate ranked second highest in the nation, with one in every 128 housing units registering a foreclosure filing.
Rounding out the five states with the highest default rates were Maryland at No. 3, with one in every 204 housing units; Illinois at No. 4, with one in every 213 units; and Ohio at No. 5, with one in every 226 housing units in default.
U.S. foreclosure starts in the third quarter were at a seven-year low, down 13 percent from the previous quarter and 39 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since the second quarter of 2006. While third-quarter foreclosure starts fell in 38 states from a year ago, 11 states saw an increase in the number of properties entering default.
“The September and third-quarter foreclosure numbers show a housing market that is haltingly returning to health,” said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist.
“The sharp jumps in foreclosure activity in some local markets may come as a surprise to some,” he added. “These spikes in activity demonstrate that while millions of distressed homeowners have been pulled back from the precipice by foreclosure prevention programs over the past several years, once those programs expire or are exhausted, a percentage of these troubled homeowners are still susceptible to falling into foreclosure.”