Foreclosure filings ticked up in October compared with the previous month but continued to decline on an annual basis, underscoring the fitful nature of the housing recovery.

Default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions were reported on 186,455 properties in October, an increase of 3% from September but 19% lower than a year earlier, according to a report released Thursday by RealtyTrac.

Florida, where one in every 312 housing units had a foreclosure filing in October, had the nation's highest foreclosure rate for the second month in a row, nearly double the national average. Nevada, where one in every 352 houses had a filing, had the nation's second-highest foreclosure rate, followed by Illinois and California.

"At a 50,000 foot level, we're past the worst of the foreclosure crisis nationwide, but there's still a lot of distress in the market that's bursting through the seams in some states," Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, told American Banker.

Scheduled foreclosure auctions rose 9% from September, while default notices and bank repossessions remained roughly unchanged from the previous month, the report found. Lenders completed foreclosures on 53,478 homes in October, a drop of 1% from September but 21% less than a year earlier.

Foreclosures increased month-to-month in more than half the 212 metropolitan areas tracked in the report, including Modesto, Calif., where foreclosures jumped 68%; Columbus, Ohio, where they rose 61%; and Columbia, S.C., which saw an increase of 58%.

The three states with the biggest annual increases in foreclosure activity in October were New Jersey, where foreclosures rose 140%; New York, where they increased 123%; and Connecticut, up 41%.

"These are markets that were kind of hit with a double whammy in October with the rising foreclosures and then the storm that damaged a lot of homes in those states," Blomquist said.

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