The exact figure – 1,045,801 – marks a 2 percent increase from the previous 6-month period and an 11 percent decrease from the first half of 2011. Foreclosure filings include default notices, auction sale notices, and bank repossessions.
Second quarter foreclosure starts totaled 311,010, a 9 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 6 percent increase from a year ago. The increase is the first yearly rise in quarterly foreclosure starts since the fourth quarter of 2009.
A breakdown by state revealed foreclosure starts were up in 31 states in the second quarter compared to the same period a year ago. Of those states, 17 were judicial and 14 were non-judicial. In judicial states, lenders must get court-approval before proceeding with a foreclosure.
“The increases in foreclosure starts in the first half of the year will likely translate into more short sales and bank repossessions in the second half of the year and into next year,” said Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac.
Foreclosure activity, on the other hand, was down in the second quarter, mostly due to a decline in REOs, according to RealtyTrac.
However, first-half foreclosure activity did increase yearly in 20 states, including Indiana (32 percent), Pennsylvania (24 percent), South Carolina (23 percent), Connecticut (23 percent), Florida (23 percent), and Illinois (22 percent).
“Additional scrutiny on how lenders and servicers process foreclosures, along with aggressive foreclosure prevention efforts by the federal government and several state governments, continue to keep a lid on the foreclosure problem at a national level,” said Moore.
The average time it took to foreclosure on a property increased nationwide, but was down in some states known for their long foreclosure timelines, such as New York, which decreased to 1,001 days from 1,056 days quarter-over-quarter. Even with the 5 percent drop, the state still takes the longest to foreclose.
For New Jersey, the state with the second longest foreclosure process, the average time to foreclose dropped 3 percent. Pennsylvania, which is number seven for its timeline, was down 1 percent.
“Lenders and servicers are slowly but surely catching up with the backlog of delinquent loans that under normal circumstances would have started the foreclosure process last year, and that catching up is why the average time to complete the foreclosure process started to level off or decrease in some states in the second quarter,” said Moore.
Bank-owned (REO) properties took longer to sell in the second quarter, averaging 195 days from the time they are foreclosed on compared to 178 days in the first quarter of this year. The states that held onto their REOs the longest were New York (430 days), Arkansas (357 days), and New Jersey (354 days).
The states with the highest foreclosure rates were Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia in the first half of 2012. Over a one-year period, foreclosure activity in Nevada has dropped by 61 percent, but the state still has the highest foreclosure rate, with one in 57 housing units with a foreclosure filing. Foreclosure activity in Arizona has declined by 37 percent since the first half of 2011, but the state’s foreclosure rate is still high, with one in 58 housing units with a foreclosure filing.
In Georgia, one in every 63 housing units had a foreclosure filing. California came in fourth for its foreclosure rate, and Florida was fifth.
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