The month of May saw U.S. foreclosure activity fall 4

Editor’s note: Data is from RealtyTrac’s May 2012 foreclosure activity report, which covers more than 2,200 counties nationwide, encompassing 90 percent of the U.S. population.

The month of May saw U.S. foreclosure activity fall 4 percent from May 2011, the 20th straight month to see a year-over-year drop, according to a report from foreclosure property marketplace RealtyTrac. Nevertheless, the number of housing units in some stage of foreclosure climbed above 200,000 for the first time in three months, the report said.

While certain hard-hit areas — in Arizona, California and Florida — are seeing a rebound in some aspects of their housing markets, such as increasing median list prices and dropping for-sale inventories, they are nonetheless struggling in other areas, including foreclosure filings.

For example, bruised California Central Valley metros Stockton and Modesto are still among the most battered by the foreclosure whirlwind — No. 5 and No. 6 on the May’s top 10 foreclosure rate list, respectively — despite more than 20 percent drops in their markets’ foreclosure rates from a year ago.

California metros, in fact, rank No. 2 through No. 6 on the top 10 list with Visalia-Porterville, Calif., which saw foreclosure filings occur at a rate of 1 in every 174 units in May, taking the California top spot.

The top spot overall, with a 231 percent foreclosure rate jump from a year ago, is Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla., with a foreclosure rate in May of 1 in every 170 units.

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga., and Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz., where housing markets have rebounded in some respects in recent months, stood at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively, on the top 10 list.

Sustained, nationwide foreclosure activity doesn’t necessarily mean that the inventory of banked-owned properties will swell.

"Based on the rise in preforeclosure sales we’ve seen so far this year, a higher percentage of these new foreclosures starts will likely end up as short sales or auction sales to third parties rather than bank repossessions going forward," said Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac, in a statement.

A deflection of foreclosures from eventual real estate owned (REO) status might be good for the market, Moore said. "Our first-quarter foreclosure sales report showed that the average price of a preforeclosure home was more than $27,000 higher than the average price of a bank-owned home."

See the pages below for the top 10 U.S. metros with the highest foreclosure rates.

Location: Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla.

 

Foreclosure rate (May 2012) 1 in every 170 units
Percent change in foreclosure rate from May 2011 230.98%
Total housing units 269,864
Metro population 543,376

Barrier island beach near Melbourne, Fla., via Flickr/tgaume

…CONTINUED

Location: Visalia-Porterville, Calif.

 

Foreclosure rate (May 2012) 1 in every 174 units
Percent change in foreclosure rate from May 2011 41.42%
Total housing units 141,696
Metro population 442,179

Diner under construction in Visalia, Calif., via Flickr/Monica’s Dad

…CONTINUED

Location: Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.

 

Foreclosure rate (May 2012) 1 in every 179 units
Percent change in foreclosure rate from May 2011 -3.03 percent
Total housing units 1.5 million
Metro population 4.22 million

Moon over Riverside, Calif., at the California Citrus State Historic Park via Flickr/danorth1

…CONTINUED

Location: Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.

 

Foreclosure rate (May 2012) 1 in every 180 units
Percent change in foreclosure rate from May 2011 -21.37%
Total housing units 152,698
Metro population 413,344

View of Mare Island Naval Shipyard cranes in Vallejo, Calif., via Flickr/cosmic tito

…CONTINUED

Location: Stockton, Calif.

 

Foreclosure rate (May 2012) 1 in every 195 units
Percent change in foreclosure rate from May 2011 -27.42%
Total housing units 233,755
Metro population 685,306

Entrance to Stockton Steelhead Festival in Stockton, Calif., via Flickr/USACE-Sacramento District

…CONTINUED

Location: Modesto, Calif.

 

Foreclosure rate (May 2012) 1 in every 199 units
Percent change in foreclosure rate from May 2011 -20.35%
Total housing units 179,503
Metro population 514,453

Lonesome train shot in Modesto, Calif., via Flickr/david__jones

…CONTINUED

Location: Bakersfield, Calif.

 

Foreclosure rate (May 2012) 1 in every 205 units
Percent change in foreclosure rate from May 2011 -14.93%
Total housing units 284,367
Metro population 839,631

The un-irrigated wasteland outskirts of Bakersfield, Calif., via Flickr/anarchosyn

…CONTINUED

Location: Atlanta, Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.

 

Foreclosure rate (May 2012) 1 in every 225 units
Percent change in foreclosure rate from May 2011 28.41%
Total housing units 2.17 million
Metro population 5.27 million

Midtown Atlanta via Flickr/Terence S. Jones

…CONTINUED

Location: Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.

 

Foreclosure rate (May 2012) 1 in every 245 units
Percent change in foreclosure rate from May 2011 -30.3%
Total housing units 1.8 million
Metro population 4.19 million

Stetson Hills neighborhood in Phoenix via Flickr/marada

…CONTINUED

Location: Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill.-Ind.-Wis.

 

Foreclosure rate (May 2012) 1 in every 252 units
Percent change in foreclosure rate from May 2011 56.17%
Total housing units 3.8 million
Metro population 9.46 million

Chicago Theater sign in Chicago via Flickr/Dave Sizer

Inman News reporter Paul Hagey compiled this report.

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