RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties, said there were 210,941 U.S. properties served with a default notice or involved in a bank repossession or scheduled for auction in January.
The number of financially distressed properties rose 3 percent over December, the firm said. But the number is 19 percent lower than January 2011.
There was some positive news in the monthly report. California's foreclosure activity fell to a 50-month low but still ranked second highest in its foreclosure rate. One of every 265 housing units in California was caught up in the foreclosure crisis in the month.
The highest rate was posted in Nevada, where one in every 198 housing units was involved in foreclosure activity.
Nevada led the nation for the 61st consecutive month. However, the number of foreclosure filings in the state in January was down 52 percent from January 2011 with 5,931 properties involved.
Arizona, third on the list, had one in every 325 housing units involved in foreclosure with the total involved, 8,749, down 44 percent from January 2011.