Foreclosure Activity Decreases 3 Percent in May 2010, According to RealtyTrac


June 11, 2010

RealtyTrac, a leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, recently released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for May 2010, which shows that foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—were reported on 322,920 properties in May 2010, a 3% decrease from the previous month and an increase of less than 1% from May 2009. One in every 400 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month.

“The numbers in May continued and confirmed the trends we noticed in April: overall foreclosure activity leveling off while lenders work through the backlog of distressed properties that have built up over the past 20 months,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Defaults and scheduled auctions combined increased by 28% from 2007 to 2008 and another 32% from 2008 to 2009—creating a build-up of delayed bank repossessions. Lenders appear to be ramping up the pace of completing those forestalled foreclosures even while the inflow of delinquencies into the foreclosure process has slowed.”

Foreclosure Activity by Type

A total of 96,462 U.S. properties received default notices in May, a 7% decrease from the previous month and a 22% decrease from May 2009. It was the fewest default notices since November 2008 and down 32% from the peak of 142,064 default notices in April 2009.

Foreclosure auctions were scheduled for the first time on a total of 132,681 U.S. properties, a decrease of 4% from the previous month and down less than 1% from May 2009. The May 2010 total was down 16% from the peak of 158,105 scheduled auctions in March 2010.

Bank repossessions (REOs) hit a record monthly high for the second month in a row in May, with a total of 93,777 U.S. properties repossessed by lenders during the month—an increase of 1% from the previous month and an increase of 44% from May 2009. All 50 states posted year-over-year increases in REO activity.

Nevada, Arizona, Florida post top state foreclosure rates in May

With one in every 79 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in May, Arizona foreclosure activity increased less than 1% from the previous month and was down nearly 5% from May 2009, but the state posted the nation’s second highest foreclosure rate for the second month in a row. One in every 169 Arizona properties received a foreclosure notice during the month—more than twice the national average.

One in every 174 Florida properties received a foreclosure notice in May, the nation’s third highest foreclosure rate, and one in every 186 California properties received a foreclosure notice in May, the fourth highest state foreclosure rate.

Foreclosure activity in Michigan increased nearly 6% from the previous month and was up 46% from May 2009, helping the state post the nation’s fifth highest foreclosure rate—one in every 223 Michigan properties received a foreclosure filing in May.

Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 in May were Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Utah and Maryland.

10 states account for more than 70 percent of national total

Florida accounted for nearly 16% of the national total in May despite a nearly 14% decrease in foreclosure activity from May 2009. Florida foreclosure activity increased nearly 5% from the previous month.

Illinois foreclosure activity decreased 20% from the previous month, but the state still accounted for nearly 5% of the national total, with 15,061 properties receiving foreclosure notices in May. Illinois foreclosure activity was up nearly 38% from May 2009.

Other states with foreclosure activity totals among the nation’s 10 highest were Nevada (14,346), Georgia (13,778), Texas (11,137), Ohio (10,379) and New Jersey (7,993).

Metro foreclosure hot spots continue to post annual declines

With a 1% increase in foreclosure activity from May 2009, Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., was the only metro area with a top-10 foreclosure rate to post an annual increase in foreclosure activity. One in every 101 Vallejo-Fairfield properties received a foreclosure notice in May, the fourth highest foreclosure rate among metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more.

All other metro foreclosure rates in the top 10 were in cities with declining foreclosure activity on a year-over-year basis: No. 1 Las Vegas was down nearly 18%; No. 2 Merced, Calif. was down 7%; No. 3 Modesto, Calif., was down nearly 28%; No. 5 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla ., was down nearly 19%; No. 6 Stockton, Calif., was down 33%; No. 7 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., was down nearly 29%; No. 8 Bakersfield, Calif., was down 19%; No. 9 Reno-Sparks, Nev., was down nearly 18%; and No. 10 Phoenix was down nearly 9%.