Foreclosure activity on U.S. housing units showed a 2 percent increase in July from the previous month but was still down 16 percent from the same month last year, according to RealtyTrac's July 2014 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released on August 14.
RealtyTrac's study showed that 109,434 housing units in the U.S. reported some type of foreclosure activity in July, which includes default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions. This number calculates to an average of one in every 1,203 U.S. properties that had a foreclosure filing.
"July was the 46th consecutive month where U.S. foreclosure activity was down on a year-over-year basis," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "After nearly four years of falling foreclosures, we are starting to see evidence that foreclosure numbers are normalizing at the national level. The 16 percent decrease in July was exactly half the annual decrease we saw a year ago in July 2013, when U.S. foreclosure activity was down 32 percent on a year-over-year basis."
Despite the national year-over-year decrease, the percentage of foreclosure activity increased from this time last year in five of the nation's top 20 metro areas: Houston, Texas (66 percent), Washington, D.C. (24 percent), San Diego, California (12 percent), Los Angeles, California (10 percent), and Riverside-San Bernardino, California (3 percent). A surge in bank repossessions (REOs) was largely responsible for the year-over-year increase in foreclosure activity in the three Southern California metro areas. REOs were up by 58 percent in Los Angeles, 40 percent in San Diego, and 27 percent in Riverside-San Bernardino.
Florida experienced the highest year-over-year decrease in foreclosure filings at 30 percent, but still had the highest state foreclosure rate in the nation for the 10th month in a row. One in every 469 properties in Florida (more than two and a half times the national average) reported foreclosure activity for July. Maryland (one in 553), Illinois (one in 639), Ohio (one in 747), and Iowa (one in 839) ranked second through fifth in highest state foreclosure rate.
Montana had the nation's lowest foreclosure rate for July with one in every 25,337 units filing a foreclosure.
Eight out of the nation's 10 highest foreclosure rates in July for metro areas with a population of more than 200,000 were located in Florida. Ocala was first with a foreclosure filing for one in every 296 properties, more than four times the national average. The only two metro areas with top 10 foreclosure rates not in Florida were Columbia, South Carolina (ninth with a foreclosure for every 484 housing units) and Akron, Ohio (10th with one in 525).
Foreclosure starts were up in 14 states from a year ago despite the overall year-over-year decrease. Nevada (128 percent), Texas (29 percent), and New York (17 percent) saw the biggest year-over-year increases in mortgage starts. Nationwide, the overall number of foreclosure starts (49,624) increased 5 percent from June to July but fell 18 percent from the previous year – marking the 24th straight month foreclosure starts experienced a year-over-year decrease.