While the overall numbers fell for the 22nd consecutive month, the number of properties starting the process rose for the third straight month for a 6 percent increase on a year-over-year basis, RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said Thursday in a release.
"Recent foreclosure activity patterns vary significantly from state to state, often hinging on the level of dysfunction that exists in each state's foreclosure process," Blomquist said. "In states like Florida, Illinois and New Jersey, where processing and procedural issues slowed foreclosure activity to a crawl last year, foreclosure numbers continue to rebound off those artificially low levels."
"But in states like Texas, Arizona and Virginia, where the average time to foreclose is below the national average of 378 days, foreclosure activity continues on a long-term downward trend," he said.
Legislation and court rulings could extend the foreclosure process in some states with shorter timelines, resulting in a temporary lull and an eventual rebound in those states, too, Blomquist said.
The 21 percent year-over-year decrease in bank repossessions paced the drop in overall foreclosure activity, said RealtyTrac, which has headquarters in Irvine, Calif.
Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia posted annual decreases in bank-owned activity, the monthly report indicated.
Foreclosure starts increased annually in 27 of the 50 states, 16 in states where foreclosures are processed through the judicial system and 11 in states where foreclosures are handled outside of the court system.
In non-judicial states, the largest year-over-year increases were New Hampshire, 55 percent; Missouri, 39 percent; Alabama, 35 percent; Washington, 30 percent; and Georgia, 25 percent.