Housing News

Foreclosure activity sharply increased in January


Foreclosures are up, but why?

According to RealtyTrac data out today, although bank repossessions are at their lowest level since July 2007, foreclosure starts rose over 50 percent annually in several states like California, Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey.

Foreclosure activity fell 18 percent annually, but rose 8.0 percent in January from December, which RealtyTrac says is driven by the sharp increases in foreclosure starts and scheduled foreclosure auctions.

It is no surprise, however, given how many mortgage servicers hit the pause button on repossessing homes during the holidays, which is a long-running tradition. RealtyTrac Vice President, Daren Blomquist, pointed to an expected rise “after a holiday lull.”

January was the 40th consecutive month of foreclosure activity declines on an annual basis, but this recent dip was the smallest since September 2012.

Blomquist notes that “The foreclosure rebound pattern is not only showing up in judicial states like New Jersey, where foreclosure activity reached a 40-month high in January, but also some non-judicial states like California, where foreclosure starts jumped 57 percent from a year ago, following 17 consecutive months of annual decreases.”

Foreclosure starts in January

RealtyTrac reports that 57,259 properties started the foreclosure process for the first time in January, up 10 percent from December, and down 12 percent form January 2013.

Despite national data, January foreclosure starts actually increased in 22 states, including Maryland (up 126 percent), Connecticut (up 82 percent), New Jersey (up 79 percent), California (up 57 percent), and Pennsylvania (up 39 percent).

Scheduled foreclosure stats

Scheduled foreclosure auctions rose 13 percent in January, but also countering the national trend,
they spiked from a year ago in 27 states, including Oregon (up 326 percent), Connecticut (up 223 percent), Maryland (up 113 percent), New York (up 73 percent), and Nevada (up 73 percent).

REO properties

There were a total of 30,226 U.S. bank repossessions in January, down 4.0 percent from the previous month and down 40 percent from January 2013 to the lowest level since July 2007 — a 78-month low.

Most real estate agents specializing in REO properties are being forced to consider other niches, but REO activity actually rose in 12 states, including New York (up 118 percent), Oklahoma (up 93 percent), Connecticut (up 75 percent), New Jersey (up 26 percent), and Maryland (up 11 percent).

Regional performance varied

Florida, Nevada, Maryland, Illinois, and New Jersey had the highest foreclosure rates and among the nation’s 20 most populated metropolitan statistical areas, the highest foreclosure rates were in Miami, Tampa, Chicago, Baltimore and Riverside-San Bernardino in Southern California. Only four of the 20 largest metro areas posted annual increases in foreclosure activity: Baltimore (up 119 percent), New York (up 40 percent), Washington, D.C. (up 38 percent), and Philadelphia (up 14 percent).


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