Foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions, inched upward nationwide in Q3 despite dropping to their lowest level in eight years in September, according to RealtyTrac's Q3 2014 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released on Thursday.
A total of 317,171 residential properties in the U.S. reported foreclosure filings in Q3, which is a decline of 16 percent from the same quarter in 2013 but an increase of 0.42 percent from Q2, according to RealtyTrac. It was the first quarter-over-quarter increase reported since the third quarter of 2011.
RealtyTrac cited a 2 percent increase in default notices and a 7 percent jump in scheduled foreclosure auctions as the reasons for the quarterly increase in foreclosure filings. The number of bank repossessions (REOs) declined by 12 percent from Q2 to Q3.
The number of foreclosure filings in September (106,866) was down 9 percent from August and down 19 percent from September 2013. September was the 48th consecutive month in which foreclosure filings declined on a year-over-year basis. With the recent decline, foreclosure filings nationwide are at their lowest level since July 2006, a total of 98 months.
"September foreclosure activity was back to pre-housing bubble levels nationwide, in large part thanks to a continued slide in bank repossessions," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "However, a recent rise in scheduled foreclosure auctions in many markets across the country shows lenders are continuing to clean house of lingering delinquent loans. This rise in scheduled auctions foreshadows a corresponding rise in bank repossessions and auction sales to third party buyers in the coming months."
The five states with the highest foreclosure rate were Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Nevada, and Illinois, according to RealtyTrac. The five metropolitan statistical areas with the highest foreclosure rates were Orlando, Florida; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Macon, Georgia; Ocala, Florida; and Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida.
Meanwhile, RealtyTrac reported that the foreclosure process is taking longer nationwide. In Q3 of 2014, properties were in the foreclosure process for an average of 615 days, an increase of 7 percent from Q2 and 13 percent from Q3 2013. It is the longest average time for the foreclosure process since RealtyTrac began tracking the data in 2007. New Jersey had the longest average foreclosure time of any state at 1,064 days, according to RealtyTrac.
The number of default notices nationwide in Q3 increased by 2 percent from the previous quarter but declined by 11 percent from the same quarter a year ago, according to RealtyTrac. It was the ninth straight quarter in which default notices declined year-over-year nationwide. Ten states saw a year-over-year increase in default notices in Q3, led by Indiana (up 59 percent), Oklahoma (up 49 percent), Massachusetts (up 38 percent), New Jersey (up 19 percent), and Iowa (up 12 percent).
Scheduled foreclosure auctions in the U.S. totaled 139,721 for Q3, up 7 percent from Q2 but down by 1 percent from Q3 2013, marking the 15th straight quarter in which foreclosure auctions declined year-over-year. The number of scheduled foreclosure auctions rose on a year-over-year basis in 22 states, led by North Carolina and Oregon with an 85 percent increase each, New Jersey (66 percent), Oklahoma (58 percent), and New York (57 percent). Scheduled foreclosure auctions increased in 32 states quarter-over-quarter, led by Michigan with a 34 percent hike, followed by Maryland (up 30 percent) and California, Texas, and Arizona with a 25 percent increase each.
REO activity is down nationwide; in the third quarter, lenders repossessed 74,271 residential properties in the U.S. in Q3, representing a decline of 12 percent from Q2 and a drop of 38 percent from Q3 2013. It was the 16th consecutive quarter in which REO activity declined year-over-year. Still, REO activity increased in Q3 from the same period a year ago in seven states, led by Maine (up 24 percent), Maryland (up 19 percent), Oregon (up 13 percent), Georgia (up 11 percent) and New Jersey (up 5 percent).