IRVINE, Calif., May 9 (UPI) -- U.S. foreclosure activity reached a 74-month low in April, online real estate tracking firm RealtyTrac said Thursday.
The 144,790 foreclosure filings in April, which includes default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, was a 5 percent decline from March and a 23 percent drop from April 2012, the firm said.
"The April numbers indicate that the pig is moving through the python when it comes to deferred foreclosures in judicial foreclosure states," said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist in a statement.
Blomquist said many of the states that require a judge to sign off on a foreclosure "have been increasing for several months ... and now that increased volume is showing up in the second stage of the process: The public foreclosure auction."
In judicial foreclosure states, scheduled auctions climbed to a 30-month high in April, "evidence that lenders are serious about moving forward with completing the foreclosure process," he said.
Foreclosures are also "bouncing higher" in a few non-judicial states, where mortgage servicers are adjusting to new legislation designed to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.
In Washington, Nevada and Arkansas, for example, foreclosure starts have been increasing on an annual basis since late 2012, Blomquist said.
While total number were down, scheduled foreclosures in states requiring a judicial review rose 22 percent from March and 31 percent from April 2012, reaching a 30-month high.
Scheduled auctions were up in 15 of 26 states that require a judicial review. In Maryland, scheduled auctions rose 199 percent from April 2012 to April 2013. In New Jersey, they rose 91 percent and in Ohio they rose 73 percent.
However, among states that do not require a judicial review for completion, scheduled foreclosures were down 7 percent from March and 43 percent from April 2012, reaching an 88-month low, RealtyTrac said.