Although the country as a whole is breathing a collective sigh of relief about foreclosures, there are still little pockets of choppiness. One of those places is DC. In new numbers calculated by RealtyTrac, the DC MSA – Washington, Arlington, and Alexandria – ranked 54th in the nation for foreclosures.

  • Foreclosures in the DC metro are still present, but not problematic.
  • In new RealtyTrac numbers for January, the foreclosure rate climbed by double-digits in DC.
  • Nationally, the foreclosure rate is below 1 percent.

Although the country as a whole is breathing a collective sigh of relief about foreclosures, there are still little pockets of choppiness.

One of those places is DC.

In new numbers calculated by RealtyTrac, the DC MSA- Washington, Arlington, and Alexandria- ranked 54th in the nation for foreclosures. They compute that number by dividing the total number of housing units in an area by the number of foreclosures. But that’s only for metros with a population of 200,000 or better.

In January, RealtyTrac found there to be 2,061 homes somewhere in the foreclosure process in the DC metro. That’s a month-over-month dip of 1.67 percent, but a 16.9 percent rise since January 2015.

Many factors can play into these rates. For example, some states have much longer foreclosure processes than others, depending on legal requirements and backlogs. And, there is naturally some level of foreclosure activity in the housing market.

Part of that bump may be due to increased foreclosure activity in Virginia, which was one of the top states for increased foreclosure activity in 2015. A total of 16 states saw foreclosures go up last year.

And, comparing 2014 to 2015, even more states (and DC) showed more foreclosures. Along with DC, 24 states posted an increase in foreclosure activity in 2015 compared to 2014.

Overall, the DC metro doesn’t compare to some states that still had the highest foreclosure rates in 2015. The top was New Jersey (1.91 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing), followed by Florida (1.77 percent) and Maryland (1.6 percent).

A total of 569,835 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in 2015, down 11 percent from 2014 and down 73 percent from the peak of more than 2.1 million foreclosure starts in 2009 to a 10-year low.

By the end of last year, 0.82 percent of all U.S. housing units (one in every 122) had at least one foreclosure filing in 2015, the second consecutive year where the annual foreclosure rate has been below 1 percent of all U.S. housing units.

But DC is an another list that’s not auspicious– an increase in REO filings. The metro ranks no. 14 in the nation for 2015 for those. Again, though, it’s part of the process. In some states, foreclosures can take more than 1,000 days, backlogging systems for years.

U.S. foreclosure starts in December were down 30 percent from a year ago — the sixth consecutive month with an annual decrease in foreclosure starts — while U.S. bank repossessions (REOs) in December increased 65 percent from a year ago — the 10th consecutive month with an annual increase in REOs.

That’s showing in January’s foreclosure leap in DC.

“In 2015 we saw a return to normal, healthy foreclosure activity in many markets even as banks continued to clean up some of the last vestiges of distress left over from the last housing crisis,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, in a statement.

“The increase in bank repossessions that we saw for the year was evidence of this cleanup phase, which largely involves completing foreclosure on highly distressed, low-value properties.”

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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