Fewer people received mortgage default notices in April, according to a report by foreclosure data company RealtyTrac. At the same time, bank repossessions shot up to a new monthly high.

"(Those) were two important milestones … that show foreclosure activity has begun to plateau — but at a very high level that will not drop off in the near future," said James J. Saccacio, ReatyTrac’s CEO, in a statement.

"We expect a similar pattern to continue for most of this year, with the overall numbers staying at a high level and ripples of activity hitting the various stages of the foreclosure process as lenders systematically work through the backlog of distressed properties," Saccacio added.

Total foreclosure activity — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions combined — fell 2 percent year-over-year and 9 percent month-to-month, to 333,837 properties. That decrease comes after foreclosure activity ramped up in the first quarter, mostly in the pace of properties reposessed by the lender.

Default notice filings fell 27 percent year-over-year and 12 percent from the previous month, to a total of 103,762 properties. Foreclosure auction filings rose 1 percent year-over-year, but fell 13 percent from March, to 137,643 properties.

Bank repossessions (REOs) were up 1 percent from the previous month, but rose a dramatic 45 percent from April 2009 to a new monthly high: 92,432 properties. The previous peak was in December when REOs hit 92,182, the report said. Bank repossessions rose 35 percent year-over-year in the first quarter.

California, Florida, Michigan, Illinois and Nevada made up 52 percent of the total foreclosure filings in the U.S, the report said. California and Nevada also dominated the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates. Only Reno-Sparks, Nev. recorded an increase in year-over-year foreclosure activity in April — the rest saw a decrease in activity, the report said.

The U.S. foreclosure filings rate: 1 in 387 housing units received a foreclosure filing in April.

Top 10 states with the highest foreclosure rates:

1. Nevada: 1 in 69 units

2. Arizona: 1 in 169 units

3. Florida: 1 in 182 units

4. California: 1 in 192 units

5. Utah: 1 in 221 units

6. Idaho: 1 in 226 units

7. Michigan: 1 in 237 units

8. Illinois: 1 in 280 units

9. Georgia: 1 in 288 units

10. Colorado: 1 in 337 units

Top 10 metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates:

1. Las Vegas: 1 in 60 units

2. Modesto, Calif.: 1 in 101 units

3. Merced, Calif.: 1 in 104 units

4. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.: 1 in 105 units

5. Stockton, Calif.: 1 in 108 units

6. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.: 1 in 110 units

7. Reno-Spark, Nev.: 1 in 112 units

8. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.: 1 in 117 units

9. Bakersfield, Calif.: 1 in 120 units

10. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.: 1 in 136 units

Source: RealtyTrac.

RealtyTrac bases its foreclosure reports on foreclosure filing data from 2,200 counties across the country, accounting for more than 90 percent of the American population.


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