RealtyTrac released its Year-End 2011 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report today. It shows a total of 2,698,967 foreclosure filing actions – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – reported on 1,887,777 U.S. properties in 2011, a decrease of 34 percent in total properties from 2010. Foreclosure activity in 2011 was 33 percent below the 2009 total and 19 percent below the 2008 total.

In 2011, 1.45 percent of U.S. housing units (one in 69) had at least one foreclosure filing during the year, down from 2.23 percent in 2010, 2.21 percent in 2009, and 1.84 percent in 2008.

Total U.S. foreclosure activity and the U.S. foreclosure rate in 2011 were both at their lowest annual level since 2007. However, Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, says the decline in foreclosures can be blamed mainly on an inefficient foreclosure process.

“The lack of clarity regarding many of the documentation and legal issues … means that we are continuing to see a highly dysfunctional foreclosure process … particularly in states with a judicial foreclosure process,” Brandon says. “There were strong signs in the second half of 2011 that lenders are finally beginning to push through some of the delayed foreclosures in select local markets. We expect that trend to continue this year, boosting foreclosure activity for 2012 higher than it was in 2011 – though still below the peak of 2010.”

December activity hits 49-month low

Foreclosure filings were reported on 205,024 U.S. properties in December, a decrease of 9 percent from November and 20 percent from December 2010. December’s total was the lowest monthly total since November 2007.

December default notices decreased 19 percent from the previous month and were down 23 percent from December 2010; Scheduled foreclosure auctions decreased 12 percent from the previous month and were down 24 percent from December 2010; and bank repossessions (REO) increased 10 percent from the previous month but were still down 12 percent from December 2010.

Florida No. 7 in number of foreclosure actions

More than 6 percent of Nevada housing units (one in 16) had at least one foreclosure filing in 2011, giving it the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the fifth consecutive year despite a 31 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from 2010. Despite a 28 percent drop in foreclosure activity from November to December – caused largely by a 41 percent drop in scheduled foreclosure auctions – Arizona registered the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate for the third year in a row, with 4.14 percent of its housing units (one in 24) with at least one foreclosure filing in 2011.

California logged the third-highest number of foreclosure actions in 2011 with 3.19 percent – one of every 31 housing units. Georgia ranked fourth with 2.71 percent of housing units (one in 37) in the foreclosure process; Utah ranked fifth with 2.32 percent of its housing units (one in 43) in the foreclosure process.

Other states in the top 10: 6) Michigan (2.21 percent), 7) Florida (2.06 percent), 8) Illinois (1.95 percent), 9) Colorado (1.78 percent) and 10) Idaho (1.77 percent).

Florida No. 3 in time it takes to process a foreclosure

Nationally, it took an average of 348 days to complete the foreclosure process in 2011 fourth quarter, up from 336 days in the third quarter and 305 days in the fourth quarter of 2010 – a 24 percent increase.

The average foreclosure process in New York has increased 37 percent during the time period and took an average of 1,019 days to complete. New Jersey documented the nation’s second longest average foreclosure process, at 964 days.

Florida documented the nation’s third longest average foreclosure process, at 806 days.


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