Bank repossessions of homes (REOs) hit a record high in the first quarter, with a total of 257,944 properties repossessed by lenders— an increase of 9 percent from the previous quarter and an increase of 35 percent from the first quarter of 2009, according to RealtyTrac®'s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for Q1 2010.
The record number of repossessions were part of overall 7 percent increase of all foreclosure filings reported on 932,234 properties in the first quarter. Foreclosure filings increased 16 percent from the first quarter of 2009. One in every 138 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing during the quarter.
"Foreclosure activity in the first quarter of 2010 followed a very similar pattern to what we saw in the first quarter of 2009: a shallow trough in January and February followed by a substantial spike in March," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. "One difference, however, is that the increases were more tilted toward the final stage of foreclosure."
"This subtle shift in the numbers pushed REOs to the highest quarterly total we've ever seen in our report and may be further evidence that lenders are starting to make a dent in the backlog of distressed inventory that has built up over the last year as foreclosure prevention programs and processing delays slowed down the normal foreclosure timeline."
California alone accounted for 23 percent of the nation's total foreclosure activity in the first quarter, with 216,263 properties receiving a foreclosure notice — the nation's highest foreclosure activity total.
Florida's total was second highest, with 153,540 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the quarter, and Arizona's total was third highest, with 55,686 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the quarter.
Despite a nearly 5 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous quarter, Illinois documented the fourth highest foreclosure activity total, with 45,780 properties receiving a foreclosure filing — still a 17 percent increase from the first quarter of 2009.
A total of 45,732 Michigan properties received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, the fifth highest state total. Michigan foreclosure activity increased nearly 11 percent from the previous quarter and was up nearly 38 percent from the first quarter of 2009.
Other states with foreclosure activity totals among the nation's 10 highest were Georgia (39,911), Texas (37,354), Nevada (34,557), Ohio (33,221) and Colorado (16,023).