Foreclosure Rates Near a ‘Significant Milestone’

Foreclosures continue to fall across the country and the return to normal levels may be on the horizon for many places, according to a new report.

Read more: Foreclosure Inventory Plunges 33%

Foreclosure filings fell 4 percent in February, reaching the lowest level since July 2006, according to RealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. Foreclosure filings reflect the number of default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions. The U.S. foreclosure rate now stands at one in every 1,295 homes that received a foreclosure filing in February.

“Given that August 2006 was the peak of the housing bubble, this eight-and-a-half year low in foreclosure activity is a significant milestone and a sign that nationwide foreclosure activity is on track to return to historic norms this year — and is possibly even headed below historic norms given the skinny-jeans-tight lending standards over the past five years,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “In markets where foreclosures were processed more efficiently we are seeing foreclosure numbers now below pre-crisis levels in some cases. Conversely, the cleanup of deferred distress is continuing in markets where a logjam of in-limbo foreclosures is still lingering from the housing crisis — as evidenced by rebounding foreclosure activity in those markets.”

24 states posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity. Activity was most elevated in Massachusetts (up 53% year-over-year) and New York, up 19 percent.

States With the Highest Foreclosure Rates

The following states posted the nation’s highest foreclosure rates:

1. Maryland: 1 in every 564 housing units received a foreclosure filing in February (foreclosure activity has fallen 1 percent compared to a year ago there, however)

2. Nevada: 1 in every 569 homes received a foreclosure filing (a 12 percent rise from a year ago mostly from a rise in foreclosure starts)

3. Florida: 1 in every 570 housing units (despite a 35 percent decrease in foreclosure activity compared to a year ago)

4. Indiana: 1 in every 871 housing units

5. Idaho: 1 in every 877 housing units

6. New Jersey: 1 in every 895 housing units

7. Illinois: 1 in every 906 housing units

8. Delaware: 1 in every 957 housing units

9. Ohio: 1 in every 1,000 housing units

10. North Carolina: 1 in every 1,088 housing units

Source: RealtyTrac