Defaults, repossessions and auctions were down 3% last year compared with 2014 and down 62% from a peak in 2010, according to a report released today by RealtyTrac.

The housing data firm released its Year-End 2015 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows foreclosure filings - default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions - were reported on 1,083,572 U.S. properties in 2015. The nearly 1.1 million properties with foreclosure filings in 2015 was the lowest annual total since 2006, when there were 717,522 properties with foreclosure filings nationwide.

Foreclosure starts in December were down 30% from a year ago - the sixth consecutive month with an annual decrease in foreclosure starts - while U.S. bank repossessions (REOs) in December increased 65% from a year ago - the 10th consecutive month with an annual increase in REOs.

"In 2015 we saw a return to normal, healthy foreclosure activity in many markets even as banks continued to clean up some of the last vestiges of distress left over from the last housing crisis," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "The increase in bank repossessions that we saw for the year was evidence of this cleanup phase, which largely involves completing foreclosure on highly distressed, low value properties."

RealtyTrac’s year-end foreclosure report is a tally of unique properties with a foreclosure filing during the year based on publicly recorded and published foreclosure filings collected in more than 2,500 counties nationwide, with address-level data on more than 23 million foreclosure filings historically also available for license or customized reporting. The report shows that 0.82% of all U.S. housing units (one in every 122) had at least one foreclosure filing in 2015, the second consecutive year where the annual foreclosure rate has been below 1% of all housing units.

The report includes new data for December, when there were 103,373 US properties with foreclosure filings, down 1% from the previous month and down 9% from a year ago - the third consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity.

Counter to the national trend, 24 states and the District of Columbia posted an increase in foreclosure activity in 2015 compared to 2014, including Massachusetts (up 55%), Missouri (up 50 %), Oklahoma (up 36%), New York (up 24%) and Texas (up 16%).

Among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas, six posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity in 2015: Boston (up 44 %); St. Louis (up 38%); Dallas (up 25%); Detroit (up 22%); New York (up 9%); and Houston (up less than 1%).

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.