August 16th, 2009 2:56 PM by Lehel Szucs
RealtyTrac released its July Foreclosure Market Report Thursday, and the findings are a stark contrast to recent news of healthier markets and price bottoms. More than 360,000 homes received a foreclosure filing last month – a new record. Despite hints that housing markets are eginning to stabilize, foreclosure activity rose 7 percent for the month and is up 32 percent from last year. To put things into perspective, RealtyTrac reported that one in every 355 homeowners in the United States faced losing their home in July.
“July marks the third time in the last five months where we’ve seen a new record set for foreclosure activity,” noted James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Despite continued efforts by the federal government and state governments to patch together a safety net for distressed homeowners, we’re seeing significant growth in both the initial notices of default and in the bank repossessions.”
Nevada, California, Arizona Post Highest Rates
For the 31st consecutive month Nevada documented the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 56 homes receiving a foreclosure filing in July — that’s more than six times the national average. Initial default notices in Nevada decreased 18 percent from the previous month, likely the result of a new state law requiring lenders to offer mediation to homeowners facing foreclosure. But scheduled auctions and bank repossessions in Nevada both increased more than 20 percent from the previous month, boosting overall foreclosure activity in the state by 4 percent.
Initial defaults in California spiked 15 percent from the previous month, pushing the Golden State into the No. 2 spot on RealtyTrac’s list for the third month in a row. One in every 123 California homes received a foreclosure filing in July. Scheduled auctions were down 1 percent from the previous month, but bank repossessions were up 4 percent.
In Arizona, one in every 135 housing units received a foreclosure filing in July, the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate. Scheduled auctions, the first public record in the Arizona foreclosure process, jumped 25 percent from the previous month, while bank repossessions stayed flat.
Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the nation’s 10 highest were Florida, Utah, Idaho, Georgia, Illinois, Colorado, and Oregon.
Usual Suspects Account for Half of Activity
Four states accounted for nearly 57 percent of the nation’s total foreclosure activity, according to RealtyTrac’s market data. California had 108,104 properties with foreclosure filings in July, Florida had 56,486, Arizona had 19,694, and Nevada 19,535.
Other states with total foreclosure filings ranking among the 10 highest in the country were Illinois (14,524); Texas (12,077); Georgia (11,136); Ohio (11,021); Michigan (8,257); and New Jersey (6,467).
Notably, foreclosure activity in Michigan dropped 39 percent from the previous month, mostly due to a 66 percent decrease in scheduled auctions. A state law that took effect July 6 requires lenders to provide delinquent borrowers with contact information for approved housing counselors before scheduling a foreclosure auction. The law freezes foreclosure proceedings an extra 90 days for homeowners who commit to work on a loan modification plan.
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