January Foreclosure Activity Increases Due To High REOs

Foreclosure houseIn 2014, foreclosure filings totaled 1.1 million making it the lowest annual total since 2006, down 18 percent from 2013, and down 61 percent from its peak in 2010. Despite the annual amount of foreclosure filings being a record low for the past 8 years, the number of U.S. foreclosure starts increased 6 percent in December 2014 from the previous month.

“The U.S. foreclosure numbers in 2014 show a foreclosure market that is close to finding a floor and stabilizing at a historically normal level,” said Daren Blomquist vice president at RealtyTrac. “But a recent surge in foreclosure starts and scheduled foreclosure auctions in several states in the last few months of 2014 indicate that lenders are gearing up for a spring cleaning of deferred distress in the first half of 2015 in some local markets.”

Foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, in the U.S. this past January totaled 119,888 properties. This is a 5 percent increase from December 2014 but a 4 percent decrease from a year ago. The main cause of the 5 percent increase can be attributed to the number of REOs, or rather bank repossessions, which increased by 55 percent making it the highest monthly total of REOs since October 2013. This increase also indicates that the “spring cleaning” Daren Blomquist anticipated got off to an early start in 2015. Daren also said, “the number of future foreclosure auctions scheduled continued to increase in many states, foreshadowing more foreclosure spring cleaning to come in the next several months in those.”

Other highlights for the foreclosure market in January 2015 include 21 states posting an annual increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions. There was an 8 percent increase in properties that were scheduled for a foreclosure auction. Foreclosure starts decreased 18 percent with 48,838 U.S. properties starting the process. Additionally, Florida, Nevada, and Maryland reported the highest foreclosure rates. Florida was up 24 percent from December and Nevada increased 38 percent. Although Maryland’s foreclosure activity decreased since December it still posted third highest in the U.S. with one in every 611 housing units with a foreclosure filing.