In what has been a tumultuous year for foreclosures nationwide, there finally is some good news-even if it ends up being short-lived. Foreclosure activity (default notices, auction sale notices, and bank repossessions) was down 10 percent in November, according to a report released Wednesday by RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties.
Year to year, however, such activity is up nearly 68 percent.
The Irvine, Calif.-based company said there were a total of 201,950 foreclosure filings nationwide, which translates to one foreclosure filing for every 617 households. November's month-to-month decline is the first double-digit drop since April 2006, but RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio said it is too early to predict an end to the nation's foreclosure epidemic.
"This could indicate that foreclosure activity has topped out for the year, but the true test of whether this ceiling will hold will come at the beginning of next year, when we anticipate that a seasonal surge in foreclosure filings and another possible wave of resetting mortgages could place further pressure on the housing market," said Saccacio. "But if the trend of flat or decreasing foreclosure activity we've seen over the past three months continues in the first quarter, it would certainly bode well for 2008."
Nevada continued to register the nation's top state foreclosure rate for the 11th straight month, with one foreclosure filing for every 152 households-more than four times the national average. A total of 6,694 foreclosure filings were reported in the state, up 1 percent from October and 167 percent from a year ago.
Florida's November foreclosure rate of one foreclosure filing for every 282 households ranked second highest, followed by Ohio's one foreclosure per 307 households. Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation's top 10 included Colorado, California, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, Indiana, and Illinois.
Despite a 21 percent decrease, California topped the nation in actual filings with a total of 39,992 foreclosures reported. Its foreclosure activity was up nearly 108 percent from a year ago.
California cities accounted for five of the nation's top 10 metro foreclosure rates in November, which is one fewer than in October. Stockton, Calif., took the top spot, with one foreclosure filing for every 99 households. No. 2 Modesto, Calif., reported one foreclosure filing for every 104 households, and No. 3 Merced, Calif., claimed one foreclosure filing for every 106 households. Other California metro areas in the top 10 were Vallejo-Fairfield at No. 6 and Riverside-San Bernardino at No. 9.
In other metro areas, Las Vegas checked in at No. 4 with one foreclosure filing for every 122 households. Detroit's foreclosure rate of one filing for every 138 households ranked No. 5. Other cities in the top 10 were No. 7 Greeley, Colo., No. 8 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., and No. 10 Miami.
Click here to download an Excel spreadsheet detailing November's foreclosure activity across the nation.