IRVINE, Calif., July 11 (UPI) -- A U.S. housing market report at mid-year showed a sharp drop in foreclosure activity in the first half of 2013.
In the first six months of the year there were 801,359 foreclosure filings, which includes default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, online marketplace RealtyTrac said Thursday.
That figure is 19 percent below the number of foreclosures in the last two quarters of 2012 and 23 percent below the first half of 2012, the firm said.
The report said one in every 164 housing units, or 0.61 percent of the housing units in the country, had at least one foreclosure filing in the first half of the year.
"Halfway through 2013 it is becoming increasingly evident that while foreclosures are no longer a problem nationally they continue to be a thorn in the side of several state and local markets, particularly where a backlog of delayed distress has built up thanks to a lengthy foreclosure process," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, in a statement.
In a sense, Blomquist said, it has become a lender's market.
"Given the rising home prices in most of these markets, it is an opportune time for lenders to dispose of these distressed properties, either at the foreclosure auction to a third-party buyer or by repossessing the property at the auction and subsequently selling it as a bank-owned home," he said.
RealtyTrac said bank repossessions in June decreased from a year ago in 34 states. However, there were some notable exceptions.
In Arkansas, Oklahoma and Maryland, bank repossessions in June were, respectively, 143 percent, 103 percent and 74 percent higher than the same month of 2012, the survey found.
In Washington in June, bank repossessions rose 71 percent from June 2012. In New Jersey, they were up 33 percent and in New York up 21 percent, the firm said.