National foreclosures hit 5-year low in Sept – –

WASHINGTON – Oct. 11, 2012 – RealtyTrac issued its foreclosure report for September and the third quarter. Nationally, the news is good: Foreclosure filings – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – decreased 7 percent from the previous month and dropped 16 percent in one year. It was the lowest U.S. total since July 2007.

Florida, however, rose to the top of the list for foreclosure starts (LIS) for the first time since 2005. According to RealtyTrac, much of the reason stems from Florida’s status as a judicial foreclosure state. The foreclosure process takes less time in states that don’t require court involvement; as a result, many non-judicial states have already cleared out much of their real estate owned (REO) housing stock.

While an increase in foreclosures appears to be a threat to Florida’s housing recovery, many Realtors say they don’t have enough foreclosures – and that an increase would be welcome.

“Right now, we’re seeing very, very few foreclosures coming onto the market,” Scott Agran, head of Lang Realty in Broward and Palm Beach counties told the Sun Sentinel. “We’re starving for inventory. We could take as much as the banks want to give us.”

National findings

• The monthly and quarterly decrease was driven mostly by big drops in non-judicial foreclosure states, such as California, Georgia, Texas, Arizona and Michigan.

• Several judicial foreclosure states – including Florida, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey and New York – registered substantial year-over-year increases.

• U.S. foreclosure starts in the third quarter decreased both from the previous quarter and a year ago, reversing a bump in foreclosure starts in the second quarter.

Florida findings

• Florida foreclosure starts (LIS) in September increased 24 percent on a year-over-year basis, the 11th consecutive month with an annual increase. The state’s foreclosure rate ranked highest nationwide for the first time since April 2005.

• In September, Florida bank repossessions (REO) increased 23 percent year over year – the ninth straight month with an annual increase.

• In the third quarter, all levels of Florida foreclosure activity increased 14 percent, but nine states saw a greater percentage increase. In New Jersey, foreclosure activity spiked 130 percent.

• In the third quarter, one of every 117 Florida homeowners with a mortgage was in some stage of the foreclosure process.

• In the third quarter, it took an average of 858 days in Florida to go through a complete foreclosure, which is a slight drop from 861 days in the previous quarter. It took longer in only two other states, New York (1,072 days) and New Jersey (931 days).

© 2012 Florida Realtors®