There were 117,485 foreclosure filings in March 2014, which is up 4% from February but still down 23% compared to March 2013, according to RealtyTrac’s “U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.”
RealtyTrac’s report on foreclosures — that includes default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — covers the month of March and the first quarter of 2014.
March was the 42nd consecutive month where U.S. foreclosure activity decreased from a year ago, helping to drop first quarter foreclosure activity to the lowest level since the second quarter of 2007.
“Now that the foreclosure deluge has dried up, banks are turning their attention back to properties that have been sitting in foreclosure limbo for some time,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “This is most evident in judicial foreclosure states that were more likely to have impediments in the foreclosure process, but there are also signs of this catch-up trend happening in some non-judicial states like California, where an increasing number of judicial foreclosure filings boosted foreclosure starts in the first quarter.”
The monthly increase in foreclosure activity was driven by a 7% month-over-month increase in foreclosure starts — the initial public notice starting the foreclosure process — and a 6% monthly increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions.
Homeowners saw lenders repossess 28,840 properties in March, down 5% from the previous month and down 34% year-over-year to the lowest level since July 2007 — an 80-month low.
About 341,670 properties had a foreclosure notice in the first quarter, down 3% from the previous quarter and down 23% from a year ago.
Despite the decrease in overall foreclosure activity in the first quarter, 29 states posted annual increases in scheduled foreclosure auctions, including Utah (up 226%), Oregon (up 177%), Connecticut (up 131%), New Jersey (up 79%), Delaware (up 49%), New York (up 47%), Maryland (up 46%), Massachusetts (up 37%), Nevada (up 21%) and Florida (up 21%).
Meanwhile foreclosure starts in the first quarter increased from a year ago in 19 states, including New Jersey (up 83%), Maryland (up 43%), Indiana (up 38%), Delaware (up 24%), Connecticut (up 13%), and California (up 10%).