Foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 56,152 U.S. properties in May 2019, up 1% from the previous month but down 22% from a year ago for the 11th consecutive month with an annual decline, ATTOM Data Solutions reported Thursday,

"We are continuing to see a downward trend with overall foreclosure activity, especially in completed foreclosures declining year after year," said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. "However, in May 2019 we did see an uptick in the number of states increasing in foreclosure starts going from 17 to 23 states rising annually, and again Florida is bucking the national trend with a continuous annual increase."

Foreclosure completions decline annually in every state except Vermont
Lenders completed foreclosures (REO) on 10,634 U.S. properties in May 2019, down 4% from the previous month and down 50% from a year ago - a 7th consecutive annual decline. States across the nation, except for Vermont all saw annual declines in completed foreclosures. Those that saw an annual decline of more than 50% in REOs included Michigan (down 84%); Massachusetts (down 74%); Indiana (down 67%); Kentucky (down 66%); and New Jersey (down 64%). In looking at those greater metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more and those that had at least 100 completed foreclosures in May 2019, with double-digit decreases were Birmingham, Alabama (down 67%); New York, New York (down 59%); Washington, DC (down 58%); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (down 57%); and Detroit, Michigan (down 54%).

Florida foreclosure starts continuing double-digit annual increase
Lenders started the foreclosure process on 30,554 U.S. properties in May 2019, while slightly up (less than 1%) from last month they are down 9% from May 2018 –fourth consecutive month with an annual decline. Counter to the national trend states that saw an increase in foreclosure starts in May 2019 were Wisconsin (up 99%); Kentucky (up 64%); Louisiana (up 53%); Missouri (up 34%); and Florida (up 23%). This is the 12th consecutive month that Florida has seen double-digit annual increases in foreclosure starts.

"To put the numbers in perspective, I would use a full year, perhaps 2006 as a 'normal' benchmark number. That would be the last year before the real estate world crashed," said Bruce Norris, president of The Norris Group. "The total foreclosure starts for Florida in 2006 was 102,875. In 2018, there were 33,031 foreclosure starts. Even at a 25% increase over 2018, 2019 will still be less than 50% of 2006. An increase of some 8,000 foreclosure starts is not a game changer at this point."

States that posted annual decreases in foreclosure starts in May 2019, included Texas (down 39%); Pennsylvania(down 38%); Massachusetts (down 34%); Oklahoma (down 29%); and New York (down 25%). Those major metropolitan statistical areas with a population greater than 1,000,000 that saw an annual decrease in foreclosure starts included Indianapolis, Indiana (down 82%); Houston, Texas (down 65%); San Jose, California (down 58%); Austin, Texas (down 41%); and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (down 34%).

New Jersey, Maryland and Florida rank top 3 in worst foreclosure rate
Nationwide one in every 2,411 housing units had a foreclosure filing in May 2019. States with the highest foreclosure rates were New Jersey (one in every 1,117 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Maryland (one in every 1,127 housing units); Florida (one in every 1,238 housing units); Delaware (one in every 1,279 housing units); and Illinois (one in every 1,363 housing units). Among 220 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, those with the highest foreclosure rates in May 2019 were Atlantic City, New Jersey (one in every 680 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Jacksonville, Florida(one in every 764 housing units); Fayetteville, North Carolina (one in every 777 housing units); Columbia, South Carolina (one in every 936 housing units); and Rockford, Illinois (one in every 941 housing units).