Takeaways:

  • U.S. properties with foreclosure filings rose by 14 percent on a year-over-year basis in July.
  • Foreclosure activity also increased by 7 percent on a month-over-month basis.
  • Rapidly rising bank REOs are the reason cited for the uptick in overall foreclosure filing volume.

The volume of U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, bank repossessions (REOs) and scheduled auctions — rose by 14 percent on a year-over-year basis in July to 124,910.

According to RealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, foreclosure activity also increased by 7 percent on a month-over-month basis.

Rapidly rising bank REOs are the reason cited for the uptick in overall foreclosure filing volume. The number of bank REOs in July reached the highest level seen in two years.

At the same time, the number of foreclosure starts that occurred during July represented the lowest level since November 2005.

“The recent rise in bank repossessions represents banks flushing out old distress rather than new distress being pushed into the pipeline,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, adding properties foreclosed during the second quarter had been in the process an average of 629 days.

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Lenders repossessed a total of 46,957 properties in July, up 29 percent from the previous month and up 81 percent from a year ago.

REOs increased from a year ago in 44 states, including:

  • New Jersey (up 344 percent)
  • Texas (up 187 percent)
  • Michigan (up 129 percent)
  • Georgia (up 87 percent)
  • Florida (up 78 percent)
  • Ohio (up 69 percent)
  • California (up 23 percent)

A total of 45,381 properties started the foreclosure process for the first time in July, down 8 percent from the previous month and 9 percent from a year ago.

Foreclosure starts decreased from a year ago in 31 states, including:

  • California (down 25 percent)
  • New York (down 19 percent)
  • Texas (down 40 percent)
  • Illinois (down 18 percent)
  • Georgia (down 24 percent)
  • Ohio (down 22 percent)
  • Michigan (down 37 percent)
  • Maryland (down 15 percent)

Among the nation’s 20 largest metros by population, 13 posted year-over-year increases in overall foreclosure activity, led by:

  • St. Louis (up 148 percent)
  • Boston (up 78 percent)
  • New York (up 59 percent)
  • Detroit (up 42 percent)
  • Philadelphia (up 40 percent)

Major markets with annual decreases in foreclosure activity were:

  • Houston (down 33 percent)
  • Phoenix (down 23 percent)
  • Riverside-San Bernardino, California (down 12 percent)
  • Los Angeles (down 11 percent)
  • Minneapolis (down 8 percent)
  • San Diego (down 5 percent)
  • Chicago (down 2 percent)

Miami posted the highest foreclosure rate in July among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas, with 1 in every 339 housing units having a foreclosure filing in July.

In addition to Miami, seven Florida metros were in the top 10 for foreclosure rates in July:

  • Jacksonville
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven
  • Deltona-Daytona Beach
  • Tampa
  • Port St. Lucie
  • Orlando
  • Palm Bay-Melbourne

Florida has the nation’s highest foreclosure rate amongst all states; 1 in every 408 homes in the state has a foreclosure filing.

Email Erik Pisor.

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