While the national rate is falling, many of the states hardest-hit by the housing crisis and recession continue to be weighed down by a higher rate of homes in the foreclosure process. Foreclosure activity actually increased in 25 states. In Florida, foreclosure filings increased by more than 50%. Based on RealtyTrac’s 2012 data, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 states with the highest rate of homes in foreclosure.
While compared to 2011 the list of 10 states with the highest foreclosure rate is somewhat different, it still represents almost all the states that were hit hardest by the housing crisis/recession. The seven states with the biggest home value declines during the housing crisis are in the top 10 foreclosures, including Michigan, California, Georgia, Illinois, Arizona, Nevada and Florida.
As foreclosures that began in some cases more than a year ago continue to make their way through the process, these states’ housing markets are projected to continue losing value. The states with the top three foreclosure rates also have the top three projected home price declines.
Apart from abysmal home price, residents of these states also felt the pressure of a weak job market. Unemployment rates in eight of the 10 states were at or above the national rate as of November 2012.
While the economic pressures have clearly had a long-term effect on high foreclosure rates, it is the state foreclosure laws that have had the biggest impact on a state’s housing market — which states have continued to see large numbers of homes in foreclosure and property values decline and which have begun to turn around.
The amount of time it takes for a foreclosure to be fully processed once property owners default on their payments and until their homes are repossessed varies widely by state. In many states, the legal processing time for a foreclosure is less than 100 days. In several of the states with the highest foreclosure rates, that processing time is well in excess of that. In Illinois, which is on our list, it takes 300 days for the foreclosure to complete.
The reasons why the foreclosure processing period is longer in these states is because it usually involves the court system. Judicial foreclosures are handled by the court and usually include motions filing and seeking a final judgment from a judge. Nonjudicial foreclosures, which tend to take less time to process, are governed by state law and do not require court intervention. Nine of the 10 states with the highest foreclosure rates use judicial handling at least partially, and four, including the state with the highest foreclosure rate, Florida, only uses Judicial processing.
Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, explained “2012 was the year of the judicial foreclosure, with foreclosure activity increasing from 2011 in 20 of the 26 states that primarily use the judicial process, and a judicial state — Florida — posting the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the first time since the housing crisis began.”
24/7 Wall St. reviewed housing data provided by RealtyTrac to rank the states that had the highest percentage of properties that had a foreclosure action taken in 2012. RealtyTrac also provided foreclosure rates from previous years, as well as the foreclosure processing laws of each state. In our analysis, we reviewed home price change and projections as of the second quarter of 2012 as provided by Fiserv. We also reviewed November 2011 and November 2012 unemployment rates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
These are the 10 States with the Most Homes in Foreclosure
> 2012 foreclosure rate: 1.64%
> November, 2012 unemployment: 7.3% (20th highest)
> Home price change (2007Q2-2012Q2): -7.3% (34th largest decline)
> Processing period: 145 days
Between the second quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2012, home prices in Colorado declined by just 7.3%, well below the nationwide decline of 27.6% over that time. Despite this limited decline in home prices, one in every 61 properties in Colorado was in foreclosure in 2012 versus one in every 72 homes nationally. On a positive note, the number of properties with a foreclosure filing in the state last year was down by 6% from the year before, while nationwide foreclosures declined by 2.7%.
9. South Carolina
> 2012 foreclosure rate: 1.66%
> November, 2012 unemployment: 8.3% (12th highest)
> Home price change (2007Q2-2012Q2): -10.8% (27th largest decline)
> Processing period: 150 days
In South Carolina, one in every 60 homes was in foreclosure in 2012. The state was less-affected by the housing collapse than many others. Home prices declined by just 10.8% over the five years ending in the second quarter of 2012, a rate lower than in more than half of all states. Still, many residents could not find work to pay off their mortgage. South Carolina’s 8.3% unemployment rate in November 2012 was among the higher rates in the nation despite a 1.5 percentage point decline from the year before — among the largest declines in the nation over that period. Despite declining unemployment, foreclosure activity increased by 18.9% in the state between 2011 and 2012 versus a 2.7% decrease for the U.S. as a whole.
> 2012 foreclosure rate: 1.69%
> November, 2012 unemployment: 8.9% (6th highest)
> Home price change (2007Q2-2012Q2): -31.9% (6th largest decline)
> Processing period: 60 days
In 2012, foreclosure activity declined by 23.5% in Michigan — among the larger declines in the nation. Despite foreclosure activity declining and despite having a foreclosure processing period of only 60 days, Michigan’s foreclosure rate remained among the nation’s highest last year. Many homeowners in the state have seen the value of their homes fall considerably in recent years. Over the five years ending in the second quarter of 2012, home prices fell by 31.9% — more than all but five other states. Additionally, from the second quarter of 2011 through the second quarter of 2012, home prices rose by 1.2% nationwide, but prices in Michigan remained effectively flat.
> 2012 foreclosure rate: 1.75%
> November, 2012 unemployment: 6.8% (25th lowest)
> Home price change (2007Q2-2012Q2): -11.6% (23rd largest decline)
> Processing period: 217 days
Although the nation’s housing market continued its recovery in 2012, last year was difficult for many Ohio homeowners. While home prices rose slightly nationwide over the 12 months ending in the second quarter of 2012, Ohio home prices fell by 0.5%. Worse yet, Fiserv projects home prices in Ohio to keep falling through mid-2013, and that the state’s real estate market will grow at a slower rate than nearly all other states from mid-2013 through mid-2014. Last year, foreclosure activity in the state increased by 12.8% from the year before. And further driving up the foreclosure rate, the foreclosure processing period takes 217 days in Ohio — longer than most states.
> 2012 foreclosure rate: 2.33%
> November, 2012 unemployment: 9.8% (3rd highest)
> Home price change (2007Q2-2012Q2): -41.0% (4th largest decline)
> Processing period: 117 days
From the second quarter of 2007 through the second quarter of 2012, home prices in California fell by 41%, a larger decline than all but three other states. But in the aftermath of the U.S. recession and housing crisis, home prices in the state have rebounded. Over the three years ending in the second quarter of 2012, home prices increased by 7.3%, more than all states except Virginia and North Dakota. Still, the widespread and long-lasting effects of the recession — the state’s 9.8% unemployment rate remains among the worst in the U.S. — prevent many homeowners from affording their mortgage. Although foreclosure activity in California declined by 25.4% in 2012, one of the largest declines in the U.S., the state still had one of the nation’s highest foreclosure rates last year, at one in every 43 homes in foreclosure.
> 2012 foreclosure rate: 2.58% (tied for 4th highest)
> November, 2012 unemployment: 8.7% (8th highest)
> Home price change (2007Q2-2012Q2): -30.3% (7th largest decline)
> Processing period: 300 days
Illinois’ housing market was among the biggest losers during the recession, as home prices declined by more than 30% between the second quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2012. However, Fiserv projects that home prices will rise by an annual average of 5.5% through 2017 — more than any other state. Illinois had one of the nation’s largest increases in foreclosure activity in 2012, at 32.6%, leading to one of the nation’s highest foreclosure rates. This rate, however, may be inflated by one of the longest foreclosure processing periods in the U.S., at 300 days.
> 2012 foreclosure rate: 2.58% (tied for 4th highest)
> November, 2012 unemployment: 8.5% (9th highest)
> Home price change (2007Q2-2012Q2): -32.9% (5th largest decline)
> Processing period: 37 days
From mid-2011 to mid-2012, no state had a larger decline in home prices than Georgia, where prices fell by 12.3%. As of November, the state’s unemployment rate remained among the highest in the nation at 8.5%, despite declining by one percentage point over the preceding 12 months — faster than the national decrease of 0.8 percentage points during that time. Like the nation as a whole, foreclosures declined slightly in the state from 2011 to 2012. But despite a 4.2% decline in foreclosure activity and one of the nation’s fastest processing periods of 37 days, Georgia’s foreclosure rate remains among the highest in the nation.
> 2012 foreclosure rate: 2.69%
> November, 2012 unemployment: 7.8% (17th highest)
> Home price change (2007Q2-2012Q2): -45.1% (2nd largest decline)
> Processing period: 90+ days
Over the 12 months ending in the second quarter of 2012, home prices in Arizona rose by 12.7% — by far the largest increase in the U.S. during that time. Additionally, foreclosure activity in the state fell by 32.9% — one of the largest decreases in the nation. Despite these improvements, home prices in mid-2012 remained 45.1% lower than they were five years before, the second-largest drop in the nation during that time, while the state’s foreclosure rate remained among the nation’s highest.
> 2012 foreclosure rate: 2.70%
> November, 2012 unemployment: 10.8% (the highest)
> Home price change (2007Q2-2012Q2): -56.8% (the largest decline)
> Processing period: 116 days
According to RealtyTrac, Nevada had the highest annual foreclosure rate in the U.S. for five consecutive years until 2011. Last year, however, foreclosure activity in Nevada declined by 56.5% from the year before — more than any other state in the nation. Though the state still had the nation’s highest unemployment rate as of November of 10.8%, this represented a nation-leading 2.4 percentage point decline from the year before, when the unemployment rate was 13.2%. But these improvements have not helped home prices recover. After declining by 56.8% over the five years ending in mid-2012 — more than any other state — Fiserv projects home prices to fall another 5.3% through mid-2013, again leading the nation.
> 2012 foreclosure rate: 3.11%
> November, 2012 unemployment: 8.1% (15th highest)
> Home price change (2007Q2-2012Q2): -43.8% (3rd largest decline)
> Processing period: 135 days
In 2012, one in every 32 homes in Florida was in foreclosure, the worst rate in the nation and well more than twice the national figure of one in every 72 homes. Despite generally declining across the nation, foreclosure activity rose by 53.5% in Florida last year — among the highest increases in the U.S. However, foreclosure activity last year of 279,230 filings on homes was still down more than 40% from 2010, when there were more than 485,000 filings. Additionally, Florida’s home prices rose by more than 3% last year, better than the 1.2% nationally. And with unemployment falling to 8.1% in November, 2012 from 10.1% the year before — one of the largest declines in the U.S. — more residents may be able to avoid foreclosure going forward.