Foreclosures fell 34% on a year-over-year basis in the third quarter, but were up slightly from the second, a sign that foreclosure activity could be picking up, according to market researcher RealtyTrac.
Foreclosures in the U.S. have declined for three consecutive quarters, but in the most recent three-month period, inched up less than 1%. Default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions were reported for 610,337 U.S. properties during the last quarter — that’s one in every 213 housing units in the country.
At 214,855, September foreclosures were down 38% from last year and 6% from the previous month. September was the twelfth consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
Foreclosures have been declining since proceedings came under scrutiny last year on claims that banks were using so-called robo-signers to rubber stamp documents without thoroughly vetting them first. RealtyTrac Chief Executive James Saccacio says that trend is now likely to reverse.
“This marginal increase in overall foreclosure activity was fueled by a 14% jump in new default notices, indicating that lenders are cautiously throwing more wood into the foreclosure fireplace after spending months spent trying to clear the chimney of sloppily filed foreclosures,” said Saccacio.
Foreclosures in the third quarter took an average of 336 days to complete the process, the highest level since the first quarter of 2007. It took an average of 318 days to sell properties in the foreclosure process, another record high. On average, it took 318 days to complete the foreclosure process and 245 days to sell foreclosures in the second quarter.
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According to RealtyTrac’s report, Nevada retained the nation’s highest foreclosure rate last quarter, with one in ever 44 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing. California came in second, followed by Arizona in third. California also accounted for roughly one-fourth of all foreclosure activity in the U.S., with 153,051 filings during the third quarter, the most of any state.