The number of U.S. properties entering the foreclosure process gained significantly in May from a year ago, according to an industry report released today.

A total of 92,746 properties nationwide entered some stage of foreclosure during the month, up 1.7 percent from April and 28 percent from May 2005, according to RealtyTrac‘s May foreclosure market report. The report shows a May national foreclosure rate of one foreclosure filing for every 1,247 U.S. households.

“Our May numbers echo the recent report by the Mortgage Bankers Association, which noted that delinquency and default activities were lower in the first quarter of 2006,” commented James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “While our report confirms that the number of properties entering foreclosure is still significantly higher than it was during the same period of 2005, we’ve now seen two months of decreasing foreclosure rates followed by May numbers that were essentially flat. That three-month trend indicates foreclosure activity has stabilized in most housing markets across the country after spiking sharply at the beginning of this year.”

Colorado posted the nation’s highest foreclosure rate for the third month in a row thanks to increasing foreclosure activity in May. The state reported 4,198 properties entering some stage of foreclosure, a 13 percent increase from the previous month and a 41 percent year-over-year increase from May 2005. With one new foreclosure filing for every 436 households, the state’s foreclosure rate was 2.8 times the national average.

Georgia’s foreclosure rate — one new foreclosure filing for every 537 households — moved up to second highest in the nation in May after ranking fifth highest the previous month. With 5,769 properties entering some stage of foreclosure, the state’s foreclosure activity increased 12 percent from the previous month and almost doubled from May 2005. Georgia also reported the fifth most foreclosure filings of any state in May.

Texas reported 14,506 properties entering some stage of foreclosure in May, the most of any state for the sixth month in a row, and a foreclosure rate of one new foreclosure filing for every 555 households — the nation’s third highest and more than two times the national average.

Utah’s and Indiana’s foreclosure rates remained among the nation’s five highest in May despite month-to-month decreases in foreclosure activity. Utah reported 1,112 properties entering some stage of foreclosure, a 22 percent decrease from the previous month and a foreclosure rate of one new foreclosure filing for every 691 households. Indiana reported 3,494 properties entering some stage of foreclosure, a 19 percent decrease from the previous month and a foreclosure rate of one new foreclosure filing for every 723 households.

After three straight months of decreases, Florida foreclosure activity increased more than 6 percent in May, with 8,898 properties entering some stage of foreclosure — the second most of any state. Florida’s foreclosure rate of one new foreclosure filing for every 821 households was 1.5 times the national average and continued to register among the nation’s 10 highest.

California reported 8,736 properties entering some stage of foreclosure in May, a 1 percent decrease from the previous month but more than twice the number reported in May 2005. Despite the increase, the state’s foreclosure rate — one new foreclosure filing for every 1,398 households — stayed below the national average for the second month in a row.

RealtyTrac publishes a national database of pre-foreclosure and foreclosure properties, with more than 600,000 properties from more than 2,500 counties across the country.

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