The new surge in foreclosures that has started to emerge in recent months continued its push forward in October, in an ominous warning of pain to come. Overall, foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions, were up 7% from September, according to numbers released today by RealtyTrac. But the swell is just beginning to make its way through the pipeline—on a monthly basis, default notices saw a 10% increase, foreclosure auctions were up 8%, and repossessions were up only 4%.
The good news is, all those numbers are significantly lower than where they stood a year ago (overall filings are down nearly 31% on an annual basis), and the analysts at RealtyTrac don’t expect foreclosures to return to the high levels they saw last year, says Daren Blomquist, a RealtyTrac spokesperson.
However, while the rising numbers may look like a slow-moving mass on a national level, on state and local levels the trend is one of fits and starts with sporadic pangs of acute pain. Indiana saw a 61% jump in default notices and a 73% increase in lender repossessions for the month. Florida was up 28% in default notices and 57% in scheduled auctions. Pennsylvania saw a 50% gain in default notices. And several more states saw significant monthly jumps in lender repossessions, including Michigan (up 40%), Oregon (up 45%), and New Jersey (up 48%).
There was one unexpected area, however, where the pain got noticeably less sharp last month: Nevada. Thanks to a law that went into effect at the beginning of November, requiring banks to sign and record an affidavit that includes key information about the foreclosure as part of the filing, default notices in the state tumbled 75% from September. However, in a testament to the severity of Nevada’s crisis, even after the drop, the state’s overall foreclosure rate was still No. 1 in the nation for the month.
Whether or not the severe decline in filings coming as a result of the requirement (which carries financial penalties if items are inaccurate) speaks of sloppy habits on the part of the banks remains to be seen, Blomquist says.
"It could just be due to the fact that they’re a non-judicial state so they’re not used to that kind of requirement. The true test will be how quickly they rebound. If it takes the lenders several months to get back on track, then they probably didn’t have their houses in order."
On the state level, California’s foreclosure rate came in second, and Arizona’s third. All together, five states—Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida, and Michigan—accounted for 53% of the nation’s total foreclosure activity for the month.
But while Nevada maintained its place at the lead in state numbers, Las Vegas—after 22 months as the highest foreclosing metro area in the nation—fell to No. 5 on October’s list. In its place was Stockton, Calif., where one in every 143 homes received a filing during the month.
"The October foreclosure numbers continue to show strong signs that foreclosure activity is coming out of the rain delay we’ve been in for the past year as lenders corrected foreclosure paperwork and processing problems, said James Saccacio, CEO at RealtyTrac, in a statement regarding the numbers today.
As for when foreclosures may finally return to normal levels, according to Blomquist, "2014 is the first chance we have."
Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder.