One in every 213 U.S. housing units had a foreclosure filing in the third quarter, a slight increase of less than 1 percent from the previous quarter and fueling concerns that foreclosure activity may be slowly ticking upward, according to a new report from market researcher RealtyTrac.
Foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—were reported on 610,337 properties. This is a decrease of more than a third (34 percent) from the third quarter of 2010. In September, there were foreclosure filings on 214,855 properties in the U.S., a 6 percent decrease from August and a 38 percent decrease from September 2010. Last month marked the 12th straight month in which foreclosure activity decreased on a year-over-year basis.
RealtyTrac Chief Executive James Saccacio said in a statement that “there is evidence the temporary downward trend is about to change direction.” The slight third quarter increase, he noted, broke a trend of three consecutive quarterly decreases that started in the fourth quarter of 2010. “This marginal increase in overall foreclosure activity was fueled by a 14 percent jump in new default notices, indicating that lenders are cautiously throwing more wood into the foreclosure fireplace after spending months trying to clear the chimney of sloppily filed foreclosures.”
In this depressed housing market, many see opportunity. More than half of investors (53.5 percent) of investors surveyed last month by Millionaire Corner said they think that now is a good time to buy real estate, and nearly all 93.3 percent perfre owning instead of renting and leasing.
According to RealtyTrac, the process to foreclose properties in the third quarter took an average of 336 days to complete, up from 318 days in the second quarter and the highest number of days going back to the first quarter of 2007. New Yorkers experienced record highs in completing the foreclosure process—an unprecedented average of 986 days. In contrast, texans enjoyed the shortest average foreclosure process of any state, 86 days, down from 92 days in the second quarter, but still up from 53 days in the third quarter of 2007.
Nevada, at one in every 44 housing units, posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure. California ranked second, followed by Arizona.