The number of foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions (REOs), increased by 15 percent from September to October, the largest month-over-month jump since the peak of foreclosure activity in March 2010, according to RealtyTrac's October 2014 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released Thursday.
Foreclosure filings were reported for 123,109 U.S. residential properties in October, which despite the month-over-month increase, still represented an 8 percent decline in the number of foreclosure filings from October 2013. One in every 1,069 residential housing units in the U.S. had a foreclosure filing in October, according to RealtyTrac.
The month-over-month increase in foreclosure filings was driven largely by a spike in scheduled foreclosure auctions. Foreclosure auctions nationwide totaled 58,869 for October, the highest total for a single month since May 2013. The October number of foreclosure auctions was a 24 percent increase from September and a 7 percent jump up from October 2013, according to RealtyTrac.
"The October foreclosure numbers are not a complete surprise given that over the past three years there has been an average 8 percent monthly uptick in scheduled foreclosure auctions in October as banks try to get ahead of the usual holiday foreclosure moratoriums," said Daren Blomquist, VP at RealtyTrac. "But the sheer magnitude of the increase this year demonstrates there is more than just a seasonal pattern at work. Distressed properties that have been in a holding pattern for years are finally being cleared for landing at the foreclosure auction."
In judicial foreclosure states, where the foreclosure process has to pass through the courts, scheduled foreclosure auctions rose in October by 21 percent month-over-month and 3 percent year-over-year. In non-judicial foreclosure states, where foreclosures are not required to be processed through the courts, scheduled auctions surged upward in October by 27 percent month-over-month and 14 percent year-over-year, according to RealtyTrac.
The states that experienced the largest year-over-year increases in scheduled foreclosure auctions in October, according to RealtyTrac, were Oregon (399 percent), North Carolina (288 percent), New Jersey (118 percent), New York (89 percent), and Connecticut (60 percent).
In October, REO activity (lenders repossessing properties via foreclosure) increased by 22 percent from September, according to RealtyTrac. It was the largest month-over-month increase in REOs since June 2009. REOs were down 26 percent from October 2013, however. In all, lenders repossessed 27,914 U.S. residential properties in October, RealtyTrac reported.
REOs increased year-over-year in 16 states, led by Maryland (190 percent), Pennsylvania (25 percent), New Jersey (22 percent), Oregon (20 percent), and New York (18 percent).
"There is still strong demand from the large institutional investors at the foreclosure auction in some markets, but even in markets with decreasing demand at the foreclosure auction, banks can be confident in selling REO properties quickly and at a good price," Blomquist said. "That’s because there is still strong demand from buyers, particularly in the lower price ranges, combined with a dearth of distressed homes listed for sale."
Foreclosure starts totaled 56,452 in the U.S. in October, a month-over-month increase of 12 percent but a year-over-year decline of 4 percent, according to RealtyTrac. The month-over-month increase was the largest since August 2011.