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Foreclosure Activity Down 17% from a Year Ago: RealtyTrac

""RealtyTrac"":http://www.realtytrac.com has released its ""January foreclosure market report"":http://www.realtytrac.com/content/foreclosure-market-report/january-2011-us-foreclosure-market-report-6387. The tracking company's analysis shows that foreclosure filings - including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions - were reported on 261,333 U.S. properties in January. That equates to one in every 497 housing units in some stage of foreclosure last month.
[IMAGE] January's filing tally represents a 1 percent increase from the previous month but a 17 percent decrease from January 2010. It marks the third consecutive month that filings have come in below 300,000, following 20 straight months where the total exceeded that threshold.

Commenting on the newly developed trend, James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac's CEO, said, ""Unfortunately this is less a sign of a robust housing recovery and more a sign that lenders have become bogged down in reviewing procedures, resubmitting paperwork, and formulating legal arguments related to accusations of improper foreclosure processing.""

According to RealtyTrac's report, a total of 75,198 U.S. properties received default notices in January, down 1 percent from December and 27 percent below January 2010. It's the lowest monthly total for default notices since July 2007, RealtyTrac said.

Default notices in states with a non-judicial foreclosure process increased less than 1 percent from the previous month but were down 8 percent from January 2010, while default notices in states with a judicial foreclosure process decreased 2 percent from December and were down 39 percent from January 2010.

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Foreclosure auctions were scheduled for the first time on a total of 108,002 U.S. properties in January, a 4 percent decrease from the previous month and a 13 percent decrease from January 2010. It was the lowest monthly total for scheduled foreclosure auctions since February 2009.

Scheduled non-judicial foreclosure auctions decreased 1 percent from December and were down 3 percent from January 2010, while scheduled judicial foreclosure auctions decreased 14 percent from the previous month and were down 39 percent from January 2010.

REO activity was the only area where filings increased on a month-to-month basis. RealtyTrac's data show lenders foreclosed on 78,133 U.S. properties in January, up 12 percent from the previous month but still down 11 percent from January 2010.

Bank repossessions in non-judicial foreclosure states increased 23 percent from December, while home seizures in judicial foreclosure states decreased 7 percent from the previous month.

Nevada bank repossessions increased 16 percent from the previous month, helping the state maintain the nation's highest foreclosure rate for the 49th straight month despite month-over-month decreases in default notices and scheduled auctions. One in every 93 Nevada homes received a foreclosure filing in January - more than five times the national average.

Arizona claimed the nation's second highest foreclosure rate. There, filings increased 16 percent from the previous month - driven by a 54 percent month-over-month increase in REOs. California's REO activity increased 32 percent from the previous month, and the state posted the nation's third highest foreclosure rate.

Idaho had the nation's fourth highest rate, while Utah posted the nation's fifth highest. Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 in January were Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Florida, and Colorado.

Five states accounted for more than 50 percent of the nation's total filings last month: California, Florida, Michigan, Arizona, and Texas.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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