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California foreclosure filings down 25%

Foreclosure filings in California were down almost 25 percent in the first half of 2014, according to RealtyTrac’s Midyear 2014 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.

A total of 64,456 California properties had foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — in the first half of 2014, a 24.71 percent decrease from the previous six months and down 25.86 percent from the first half of 2013. The report also shows that 0.47 percent of all California housing units – or one in 212 – had at least one foreclosure filing in the first six months of the year.

“Distressed properties continue to wane as more traditional sellers find their way into the housing market and home prices continue to rise,” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market.

The report also includes new foreclosure activity data from June, when a total 12,804 California properties had a foreclosure filing, up 0.97 percent from the previous month and down 14.59 percent from a year ago.

A total of 6,383 California properties started the foreclosure process for the first time in June, up 6.42 percent from May and down 21.12 percent from June 2013.

A total of 613,874 U.S. properties had a foreclosure filing in the first half of 2014, a 19 percent decrease from the previous six months and down 23 percent from the first half of 2013. The report also shows that 0.47 percent of all U.S. housing units (one in 214) had at least one foreclosure filing in the first six months of the year.

A total 107,194 U.S. properties had a foreclosure filing in June, down 2 percent from the previous month and down 16 percent from a year ago to lowest level since July 2006, before the housing price bubble burst.

Total foreclosure activity in June was the lowest since the housing bubble burst in August 2006 in 10 states, including Texas, Georgia, Colorado, Tennessee, Arizona and Nevada.

“Nationwide foreclosure activity in June reached an important milestone, dropping to levels not seen since before the housing price bubble burst in August 2006,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Over the next six to nine months nationwide foreclosure numbers should start to flat line at consistently historically normal levels.

“There continue to be concerning trends in some states and local markets that clearly indicate those markets are not completely out of the woods when it comes to the lingering foreclosure problem left over from the housing bust,” Blomquist continued. “While it’s important that any remaining foreclosure infection is addressed promptly to keep it from festering, foreclosures are no longer a widespread contagion threatening to derail the housing market’s return to full health.”

Nine states saw overall foreclosure activity increase in the first half of 2014 compared to a year ago, including New Jersey (up 54 percent), Maryland (up 18 percent), Iowa (up 10 percent), Massachusetts (up 4 percent), and Connecticut (up 4 percent).

States with the highest foreclosure rates in the first half of 2014 were Florida (one in 74 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Maryland (one in 107), Illinois (one in 123), New Jersey (one in 134), and Nevada (one in 138).

A total of 47,243 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process for the first time (not including re-filings) in June, down 4 percent from the previous month and down 18 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since November 2005 — a more than 8 and a half year low.

Foreclosure starts in June increased from the previous month in 15 states and were up from a year ago in 20 states, including Massachusetts (105 percent increase), New Jersey (70 percent increase), Nevada (66 percent increase), Indiana (65 percent increase), Oregon (50 percent increase), and Ohio (17 percent increase).

Halfway through 2014, a total of 315,895 U.S. properties have started the foreclosure process, on pace to reach more than 630,000 for the year, which would be down from the 747,728 in 2013.

In California, 2,371 properties were repossessed by lenders via foreclosure in June, down 7.31 percent from May and up 17.55 percent from June 2013. A total of 26,889 U.S. properties were repossessed by lenders via foreclosure in June, down 5 percent from the previous month and down 24 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since June 2007 — an 84 month (7-year) low.

Lender repossessions in June increased from the previous month in 16 states and were up from a year ago in 12 states, including Iowa (up 86 percent), Maryland (up 86 percent), New York (up 49 percent), Oregon (up 22 percent), California (up 18 percent), Illinois (up 8 percent), and New Jersey (up 5 percent).

Halfway through the year a total of 174,691 U.S. properties have been repossessed by lenders via foreclosure, on pace to reach nearly 350,000 for the year, which would be down from the 462,970 lender repossessions in all of 2013.

A total of 46,743 U.S. properties were scheduled for foreclosure auction (in some states these are foreclosure starts) in June, down 1 percent from the previous month and down 13 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since July 2006 — a 95-month low.

Scheduled foreclosure auctions increased from the previous month in 12 states and were up from a year ago in 17 states, including Connecticut (up 68 percent), Pennsylvania (up 62 percent),New Jersey (up 25 percent), North Carolina (up 15 percent), Florida (up 15 percent), and New York (up 10 percent).

For properties foreclosed in the second quarter of 2014, the average time to complete foreclosure was 577 days, up from 572 days in the previous quarter and up from 526 days in the second quarter of 2013.

States with the longest time to foreclose were New Jersey (1,098 days), New York (930 days), Florida (925 days), Hawaii (915 days), Illinois (850 days), and Massachusetts (784 days).

Of the 212 metropolitan statistical areas tracked in the report, 168 (79 percent) posted decreasing foreclosure activity compared to a year ago, with an average decrease of 32 percent.

Major metros with decreasing foreclosure activity in the first half of 2014 compared to a year ago included Los Angeles (down 20 percent), Chicago (down 30 percent), Dallas (down 28 percent), Houston (down 29 percent), and Miami (down 30 percent).

Meanwhile 44 metro areas bucked the national trend with increasing foreclosure activity from a year ago in the first half of 2014. Major metros with increasing foreclosure activity included New York (up 20 percent), Philadelphia (up 6 percent), Washington, D.C. (up 12 percent), and Baltimore (up 3 percent).

Despite the annual decrease, Miami posted the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate: 1.65 percent of all housing units (one in 61) with a foreclosure filing during the first half of the year.

U.S. properties foreclosed in the second quarter of 2014 were in the foreclosure process an average of 577 days from the initial public foreclosure notice to the completed foreclosure, up 10 percent from 526 days in the second quarter of 2013.

The average time to foreclose decreased from a year ago in 17 states, including Minnesota (down 20 percent), Texas (down 17 percent), Maryland (down 17 percent), Georgia (down 11 percent), New York (down 10 percent), and California (down 7 percent).

The average time to foreclose was 1,098 days in New Jersey, the longest of any state, followed by New York at 930 days, Florida at 925 days, Hawaii at 915 days, Illinois at 850 days, and Massachusetts at 784 days.

The average time to foreclose was 169 days in Delaware, the shortest of any state, followed by Texas at 173 days, Alaska at 185 days, Minnesota at 192 days, and Alabama at 207 days.

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