While various aspects of the housing market have gradually improved from the trough of the financial crisis, foreclosure activity continues to remind us that the recovery is a painfully slow process.
The number of foreclosure filings in the United States reached 116,913 in August, up 7 percent from the previous month, according to a new report from RealtyTrac. Filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions, are still down 9 percent from a year earlier, but that is the smallest year-over-year improvement in the last four years. In fact, 51,192 properties were scheduled for foreclosure auction in August, up 1 percent from last year and the first increase in 44 months.
“The August foreclosure numbers demonstrate that although the foreclosure crisis is well behind us, the messy business of cleaning up the distress lingering from the housing bust continues in many markets,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. “The annual increase in foreclosure auctions — the first since the robo-signing controversy rocked the foreclosure industry back in late 2010 — indicates mortgage servicers are finally adjusting to the new paradigms for proper foreclosure that have been implemented in many states, whether by legislation or litigation or both.”
More than 55,000 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in August, up 12 percent from July and the second consecutive monthly gain. Nineteen states have foreclosure starts above last year’s level. Let’s take a look at the seven states experiencing the largest gains in foreclosure starts.