Foreclosure filings - default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions - were reported on 104,111 U.S. properties in November, a nearly 10% drop from the previous month and down more than 7% from a year ago. The report also shows one in every 1,268 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month, according to RealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.
The 10% monthly decrease in foreclosure activity was primarily linked to a 15% November drop in foreclosure starts, with 41,208 properties starting the foreclosure process for the first time during the month, the lowest total since May 2005. Foreclosure starts have fallen on a monthly basis for seven of the last eight months - with the exception of a monthly increase in October. November was the fifth consecutive month where national foreclosure starts decreased on a year-over-year basis.
"Banks are continuing to work through the backlog of lingering foreclosures, pushing bank repossession numbers higher in the short term even as foreclosure starts drop to new lows," said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac. "This also means the share of active foreclosures tied to bubble-era loans is shrinking, with 59 percent of all loans in foreclosure originated between 2004 and 2008. While that is still a disproportionate share of active foreclosures, it continues to decrease from 61 percent earlier this year and 75 percent two years ago."
Bucking the national trend, nine states saw foreclosure starts increase from a year ago, including Oklahoma (up 246%), Arkansas (up 180%) and Virginia (up 39%).
Lenders repossessed a total of 40,329 properties in November, up 10% from the previous month and up 60% from a year ago. It marked the ninth consecutive month with a year-over-year increase in REOs. Through the first 11 months of 2015 there have been 410,249 completed foreclosures, up 35% from 303,064 REOs during the same time period in 2014.
REOs increased from a year ago in 41 states, led by Tennessee (up 608%), Mississippi (up 341%), Texas (298%), Nebraska (up 295%), New York (up 270%) and New Jersey (up 205%).
Those states that saw the most completed foreclosures for the month included Florida (6,435 REOs), Texas (3,107 REOs), California (2,567 REOs), Illinois (2,338 REOs) and Georgia (2,302 REOs).
A total of 36,409 U.S. properties were scheduled for foreclosure auction in November, down 22% from the previous month and down 27% from a year ago.
Scheduled foreclosure auctions, which can be foreclosure starts in some states, fell from a year ago in 31 states, including Hawaii (down 87%), Florida (down 58%), Georgia (down 48%), Texas (down 46%), Oregon (down 39%), Colorado (down 34%) and Washington (down 33%).
Matthew Gardner, a chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, who covers the Seattle market, said, "Seattle can best be described as a market in full recovery mode. Sales are strong and prices continue to climb. As such, the drop in foreclosure activity is not a surprise and I certainly do not see it increasing any time soon. What we can expect is for foreclosures to continue falling as banks clear through their backlog of inventory."
There were 10 states where scheduled foreclosure auctions increased annually, including New Mexico (up 109%), New Jersey (up 82%) and Massachusetts (up 39%).