Foreclosure filings were reported on 317,171 U.S. properties in the third quarter ended September 30, marking the first quarterly increase since the third quarter of 2011, according to RealtyTrac’s latest Foreclosure Market Report.

The increase in overall foreclosure activity - including default notices, bank repossessions and scheduled auctions - was driven by a 2% rise in default notices and a 7% quarterly jump in scheduled foreclosure auctions. Bank repossessions decreased 12% from the second quarter.

For September, foreclosure activity fell to the lowest mark since July 2006, as banks reclaimed fewer homes, according to the report released on Thursday. RealtyTrac reported foreclosure filings for 106,866 properties, an 8.6% drop from August and down 18.6% from a year earlier. Lenders repossessed 22,930 homes in September, a 13% decline from the month before, while 48,399 properties were set for foreclosure auctions, a 5.5% decrease.

September was the 48th consecutive month of year-over-year declines in overall foreclosure activity.

"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."

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