In its latest study, RealtyTrac analyzed nationwide foreclosure data for Q1 2016. Their report revealed that 78 of the 216 U.S. markets studied showed first quarter foreclosure activity to be below pre-recession levels.
“Despite a seasonal bump higher in March, foreclosure activity in most markets continues to trend lower and back toward more healthy, stable levels,” said RealtyTrac senior VP Daren Blomquist.
“More than one-third of the 216 local markets we analyzed were below their pre-recession foreclosure activity averages in the first quarter, and we would expect a growing number of markets to move below that milestone the rest of this year — while the number of markets with a lingering low-grade fever of foreclosure activity continues to shrink.”
A total of 289,116 foreclosure filings — defined as default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported in 2016s first quarter, down 4 percent from the last quarter of 2015 and down 8 percent from a year prior. This quarterly total represents more than a nine-year low (the lowest quarterly total was the fourth quarter of 2006).
5 Markets With Foreclosure Levels Below Pre-Recession Averages
Of the 216 areas studied with populations of 200,000 or more, 36 percent (or 78 markets) posted foreclosure activity lower than pre-recession averages. These metropolitan areas included:
- Los Angeles (27 percent below pre-recession average)
- Dallas (65 percent below pre-recession average)
- Houston (64 percent below pre-recession average)
- Miami (19 percent below pre-recession average)
- Atlanta (57 percent below pre-recession average)
5 Markets With Foreclosure Levels Above Pre-Recession Averages
Conversely, 138 major metros (64 percent) of those studied saw foreclosure activity above pre-recession levels. These markets included:
- New York (80 percent above pre-recession average)
- Chicago (17 percent above pre-recession average)
- Philadelphia (97 percent above pre-recession average)
- Washington, D.C. metro (134 percent above pre-recession average)
- Boston (46 percent above pre-recession average)
10 States and Metro Areas With the Highest Foreclosure Rates
On average, one out of every 459 houses had a foreclosure filing in the first quarter of 2016. States with the highest foreclosure rates were:
- Maryland (one in every 194 housing units with a foreclosure filing)
- New Jersey (one in every 216 housing units)
- Nevada (one in every 236 housing units)
- Delaware (one in every 240 housing units)
- Florida (one in every 274 housing units)
Other honorable mentions included Illinois, Ohio, South Carolina, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.
Among metro areas studied with populations of at least 200,000, the following ranked highest:
- Atlantic City, New Jersey (one in every 106 housing units with a foreclosure filing)
- Trenton, New Jersey (one in every 168 housing units)
- Baltimore, Maryland (one in every 183 housing units)
- Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida (one in every 196 housing units)
- Rockford, Illinois (one in every 211 housing units)
Others in the top 10 included Las Vegas, Tampa, Fayetteville, North Carolina, Philadelphia, and Jacksonville, Florida.
March Foreclosure Starts Up From a Year Ago in 20 States
The month of March saw a total of 108,970 foreclosure filings on U.S. properties, which represented an 11 percent increase from February — but a 11 percent decrease from a year ago.
March foreclosure starts were up from a year ago in 20 states. These states included:
- Connecticut (up 169 percent)
- Arizona (up 125 percent)
- Delaware (up 78 percent)
- Iowa (up 64 percent)
- Massachusetts (up 51 percent)
Scheduled auctions for foreclosures also increased from a year ago in 23 states, including:
- Massachusetts (up 211 percent)
- New York (up 92 percent)
- Pennsylvania (up 49 percent)
- Maryland (up 43 percent)
- South Carolina (up 37 percent)
Regarding these numbers, Blomquist remarked, “Over the last 10 years, U.S. foreclosure activity on average has increased 6 percent from February to March, and the 11 percent increase this year was not far off that typical seasonal bump. February is of course a shorter month, and banks often ramp up foreclosure filings in March to take advantage of the spring selling season — which should prove particularly favorable to banks this year given low inventory levels of homes for sale and continued strong demand from buyers regaining confidence in the housing market.”
Investors: Have you seen foreclosures increase or decrease in your market?
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