One in 111 housing units had at least one foreclosure filing -- such as notices of default or auction sale, or bank repossession -- in the first half of this year, RealtyTrac.com said in a release.
RealtyTrac said its survey indicated the number of foreclosures for the first half of 2011 was a 29 percent decrease from the first six months of 2010.
Foreclosure filings were reported on 608,235 U.S. properties during the second quarter, a drop of nearly 11 percent from the first quarter and 32 percent lower than the second quarter of 2010, the Irvine, Calif.-based online foreclosure properties marketplace said. The second quarter total was the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2007.
"It would be nice to report that foreclosure activity is dropping as a result of improvements in the economy or the housing market," said James Saccacio, RealtyTrac.com chief executive officer. "Unfortunately, with unemployment rates inching back up, consumer confidence weak and home sales and prices continuing to languish, this doesn't appear to be the case."
Processing and procedural delays were pushing foreclosures out, Saccacio said, estimating that up to 1 million foreclosure actions "that should have taken place in 2011 will now happen in 2012, or perhaps even later."
"This casts an ominous shadow over the housing market, where recovery is unlikely to happen until the current and forthcoming inventory of distressed properties can be whittled down to a manageable number," he said.
The survey said properties foreclosed in the second quarter were in the process an average of 318 days from the initial notice to completion, up from a revised 298 days in the first quarter.