With foreclosures in May up 9 percent from April, but down 4 percent from May 2011, "It's going to be a bumpy ride down to the bottom of this foreclosure cycle," said Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac in a statement.
Moore said foreclosure activity has dropped on a year-over-basis for 20 consecutive months. But the month-to-month climb shows the market is still unsteady.
In May, 205,990 U.S. properties were involved in foreclosure, with foreclosures filed for one in every 639 housing units in the month, the firm said.
In May, Georgia "leapfrogged" over four states to post the highest foreclosure rate in the nation.
Bank repossessions, meanwhile, rose 7 percent off of a 49-month low in April.
For the month, the foreclosure process was completed on 54,844 U.S. properties. Although higher than April, completed foreclosures were down 18 percent from May 2011.