A total of 597,589 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings - default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions - in the first half of 2015, down 13% from the previous six months and down 3% from the same time period in 2014, according to RealtyTrac's Midyear U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.

A total of 304,439 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in the first half of the year, down 4% from a year ago and 18% below foreclosure starts in the first half of 2006 before the housing price bubble burst in August 2006. First-half foreclosure starts 2015 were at their lowest level in any year since RealtyTrac began tracking in 2006 - a 10-year low.  "U.S. foreclosure starts have not only returned to pre-housing crisis levels, they have fallen well below those pre-crisis levels and are still searching for a floor, down 4 percent from a year ago," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "Loans originated in the last five years continue to perform better than historic norms, with tighter lending standards and more cautious borrower behavior acting as important guardrails for the real estate boom of the past three years.”There were 19 states where foreclosure starts in the first half of 2015 were at or below their pre-crisis levels of 2006, including California, Florida, Arizona, Georgia and Illinois. A total of 209,281 U.S. properties were repossessed by lenders in first half of 2015, up 20% from a year ago and 37% above the number of bank repossessions in the first half of 2006 before the housing bubble burst."Less-disciplined loans originated during the last housing boom continue to account for the majority of distress still hanging over the housing market, with two-thirds of all loans in foreclosure on loans originated between 2004 and 2008," Blomquist said. "An increasing number of these failed bubble-era loans finally exited the foreclosure process in the first half of 2015, resulting in accelerating bank repossessions that are still well above pre-crisis levels along with record-long average foreclosure timelines for properties foreclosed in the second quarter."First-half bank repossessions in 2015 were above 2006 levels in 35 states, including California, Florida, Arizona, Illinois and Nevada. There were a total of 117,055 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings in June, down 8% from a 19-month high in May but still up 9% from a year ago - the fourth consecutive month with a year-over-year increase.A total of 49,105 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process for the first time in June, down 4% from the previous month but up 4% from a year ago. Despite the year-over-year increase, June foreclosure starts were still below their pre-crisis average of 52,000 a month in 2005 and 2006.States with the biggest increase in foreclosure starts in June compared to a year ago included Massachusetts (up 141%), Colorado (up 83%), New York (up 45%), Virginia (up 41%), Texas (up 37%), Nevada (up 28%), Indiana (up 21%), Missouri (up 21%), and New Jersey (up 19%). 


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