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Calif. foreclosure filings in October down for month, year

Foreclosure filings were reported on 36,054 California properties in October, down 4.91 percent from September and 34.82 percent from October 2011, according to RealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for October 2012.

Foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 186,455 U.S. properties in October, an increase of 3 percent from September, but still down 19 percent from October 2011.

The report also shows one in every 706 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.

Foreclosure starts — default notices or scheduled foreclosure auctions, depending on the state — were filed for the first time on 13,229 California properties, down 3.35 percent from September and down 54.76 percent from October 2011.

Foreclosure starts were filed for the first time on 89,209 U.S. properties in October, a 2 percent increase from September, but still down 19 percent from October 2011 — the third straight month with an annual decrease in foreclosure starts.

Lenders completed the foreclosure process on 7,813 California properties, down 6.51 percent from September and 20.03 percent from October 2011.

Nationwide, lenders completed the foreclosure process on 53,478 properties in October, down less than 1 percent from the previous month but down 21 percent from October 2011 — the 24th straight month with an annual decrease in REO activity.

REO activity decreased annually in 37 states and the District of Columbia.

Some of the biggest decreases were in Oregon (81 percent), Virginia (72 percent), Washington (56 percent), Nevada (50 percent), Texas (41 percent), Michigan (35 percent), Arizona (33 percent) and California (20 percent).

Florida registered the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the second month in a row.

One in every 312 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing in October — more than twice the national average.

A total of 28,783 Florida properties had a foreclosure filing in October, up 2 percent from the previous month and a 12-month high, but the October 2012 total was still 13 percent below the October 2011 total.

Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation’s 10 highest were California (one in every 379 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Arizona (one in 420 housing units), Georgia (one in every 439 units), Ohio (one in every 476 units), Colorado (one in 563 units), South Carolina (one in every 601 units) and Michigan (one in every 607 units).

October foreclosure activity increased from the previous month in 113 of the 212 metropolitan statistical areas tracked in the report (53 percent).

Six of the metro areas with the 10 highest foreclosure rates documented a monthly increase in foreclosure activity, including Modesto, Calif. (68 percent); Visalia-Porterville, Calif. (58 percent); and Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla. (71 percent).

“We continued to see vastly different foreclosure trends across the country in October, depending primarily on how each state’s foreclosing infrastructure was able to handle the high volume of delinquent loans during the worst of the foreclosure crisis in 2010,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.

"Unfortunately the three states dealing with the biggest rebound in deferred foreclosure activity — New Jersey, New York and Connecticut — also had to deal with the devastation to homes inflicted by Superstorm Sandy," he said.

"The foreclosure moratoriums being put into effect as a result of the storm will likely extend the already-lengthy time to foreclose in these states, further prolonging a fundamentally sound housing recovery,” Blomquist said.

In the 34 counties in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York that are being given individual assistance by FEMA, a total of 6,380 properties had foreclosure filings in October, down 8 percent from September but an increase of 92 percent from October 2011.

Despite the sharp year-over-year increase, the foreclosure rate in those counties combined was less than half the national average: one in every 1,467 housing units with a foreclosure filing.

As of the end of October, total inventory of properties in some stage of foreclosure or bank owned in these counties was 124,608, up 15 percent from the previous month and up 54 percent from October 2011.

The estimated combined market value of foreclosure inventory in the impacted counties was more than $41 billion.

Fannie Mae (OTC: FNMA) owned the biggest percentage of REO inventory of any lender in the impacted counties in all three states, with 29 percent in New York, 25 percent in New Jersey, and 22 percent in Connecticut.

Other lenders with large percentages of REO inventory in the impacted counties included Wells Fargo, US BankCorp and Deutsche Bank.

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