A new report from RealtyTrac, an online real estate data firm, shows a total of 613,874 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings - default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions - in the first half of 2014, a 19% drop from the previous six months and down 23% from the first half of 2013.
The report also shows that 0.47% of all U.S. housing units (one in 214) had at least one foreclosure filing in the first six months of the year.
The report also includes new foreclosure activity data from June, when a total of 107,194 U.S. properties had a foreclosure filing, down 2% from the previous month and down 16% from a year ago to lowest level since July 2006, before the housing price bubble burst.
Total foreclosure activity in June was the lowest since the housing bubble burst in August 2006 in 10 states, including Texas, Georgia, Colorado, Tennessee, Arizona and Nevada.
"Nationwide foreclosure activity in June reached an important milestone, dropping to levels not seen since before the housing price bubble burst in August 2006," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "Over the next six to nine months nationwide foreclosure numbers should start to flat line at consistent historically normal levels."
Other high-level findings from the report:
Only nine states saw overall foreclosure activity increase in the first half of 2014 compared to a year ago, including New Jersey (up 54%), Maryland (up 18%), Iowa (up 10%), Massachusetts (up 4%) and Connecticut (up 4%).
States with the highest foreclosure rates in the first half of 2014 were Florida (one in 74 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Maryland (one in 107), Illinois (one in 123), New Jersey (one in 134), and Nevada (one in 138).
A total of 47,243 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process for the first time (not including re-filings) in June, down 4% from the previous month and down 18% from a year ago to the lowest level since November 2005 - a nine-year low.
Foreclosure starts in June increased from the previous month in 15 states and were up from a year ago in 20 states, including Massachusetts (105% increase), New Jersey (70% increase), Nevada (66% increase), Indiana (65% increase), Oregon (50% increase) and Ohio (17% increase).
Halfway through 2014, a total of 315,895 U.S. properties have started the foreclosure process, on pace to reach more than 630,000 for the year, which would be down from the 747,728 in 2013.
A total of 26,889 U.S. properties were repossessed by lenders via foreclosure in June, down 5% from the previous month and down 24% from a year ago to the lowest level since June 2007.
Lender repossessions in June increased from the previous month in 16 states and were up from a year ago in 12 states, including Iowa (up 86%), Maryland (up 86%), New York (up 49%), Oregon (up 22%), California (up 18%), Illinois (up 8%) and New Jersey (up 5%).
Halfway through the year a total of 174,691 U.S. properties have been repossessed by lenders via foreclosure, on pace to reach nearly 350,000 for the year, which would be down from the 462,970 lender repossessions in all of 2013.