Foreclosure Picture Improves, but Not in States Hit Hardest by Real Estate Collapse

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RealtyTrac, the gold standard of research about foreclosures, reported more evidence that the real estate market continues the process of healing the tremendous damage done to it during the recession. The exception is in the results from states that took the brunt of the catastrophe. While these have shown some improvement, they are still years away from true recovery.

The results for last month:

RealtyTrac released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for October, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 133,919 U.S. properties in October, a 2 percent increase from the previous month but a 28 percent decrease from a year ago. The report also shows one in every 978 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.

The results were hardly uniform from state to state:

Foreclosure starts were up from the previous month in 22 states, including Colorado (up 124 percent), Florida (up 36 percent), and Illinois (up 30 percent).

The results from these states might be skewed by local foreclosure laws, but that would not explain the lack of a recovery in states and cities where home prices dropped as much as 50% to 60% as the home price market fell from 2005 levels:

States with the five highest foreclosure rates in October were Florida, Nevada, Maryland, Ohio and Illinois.
Among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas, the highest foreclosure rates were in Miami, Tampa, Chicago, Baltimore and Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.

Florida’s overbuilt market is only in the early stages of what most likely will be an uneven recovery. Nevada, spectacularly overbuilt in the early 2000s, is not better off. Nor is the area of California that sits inland and stretches from San Francisco almost as far south as Los Angeles.

State by state, the worst of it:

Florida foreclosure activity in October increased 22 percent from the previous month, driven primarily by a 36 percent month-over-month increase in foreclosure starts, helping the state regain the nation’s highest foreclosure rate after two months in the second spot. A total of 26,962 Florida properties had foreclosure filings during the month, one in every 332 housing units.

Nevada foreclosure activity in October dropped 39 percent from the previous month off a 21-month high in September, but the state still posted the nation’s second highest foreclosure rate: one in every 407 housing units with a foreclosure filing. New legislation called the Nevada Homeowner Bill of Rights that changes the foreclosure process in the state took effect in October.

Maryland posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate in October, up from the No. 4 spot in September, thanks to a 10 percent monthly increase and 201 percent year-over-year increase in foreclosure activity — the 16th consecutive month where Maryland foreclosure activity has increased on an annual basis. One in every 516 Maryland housing units had a foreclosure filing in October.

Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation’s 10 highest in October were Ohio (one in every 525 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Illinois (one in every 552 housing units), Utah (one in every 695 housing units), South Carolina (one in every 729 housing units), Delaware (one in every 748 housing units), Connecticut (one in every 752 housing units), and Georgia (one in every 897 housing units).

One in every 332 housing units with foreclosure filings is in no recovery at all.