• In new numbers calculated by RealtyTrac, the LA MSA ranked 95th in the nation for foreclosures.
  • In LA and Orange counties combined, there were 3,260 homes at some point in the foreclosure process in January 2016.
  • The foreclosure rate edged up a bit in December, and then was better year-over -year for January.

Even though California has suffered its share of real estate trauma, when looked at as a whole, Los Angeles’ foreclosure numbers certainly don’t suggest that the patient is in critical condition.

Although the country as a whole is breathing a collective sigh of relief about foreclosures, they’ll never completely go away. What those numbers suggest is what’s critical.

In new numbers calculated by RealtyTrac, the LA MSA – which consists of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Anaheim – ranked 95th 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 Los Angeles and Orange counties combined, the county-level way of expressing what makes up the metro, there were 3,260 homes at some point in the foreclosure process in January 2016.

RealtyTrac computes a foreclosure rate by dividing the foreclosures by the housing units in a metro. Since LA has 13 million people who call 4.5 million housing units home, there is one home in foreclosure for every 1,387 in the metro.

Los Angeles foreclosure trends

Month-over-month, the foreclosure rate increased by 9.1 percent. A December bump in that stat was seen in a few of big metros, but LA’s rate of increase managed to stay in the single digits. Neighbor San Francisco had a jump of 16.89 percent in its foreclosure rate.

Year-over-year, though, LA’s foreclosure rate dropped 11.17 percent.

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, 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.

LA, or California for that matter, can’t touch the foreclosure giants of 2015. The highest foreclosure rates were found in 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.

“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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