Foreclosure activity in the U.S. was at an eight-year low in the first quarter of 2015, despite an increase in activity in March, according to the most recent foreclosure report from real estate data company RealtyTrac. The number of residential properties with a foreclosure filing — default notice, scheduled auction or bank repossession — decreased about 8% from the first quarter of 2014. The 313,487 properties in foreclosure are the fewest in the market since the first quarter of 2007.
Foreclosure activity declined in a majority of states in the first quarter, even in many of the states with the highest foreclosure rates. Most of the foreclosure activity in the first quarter was concentrated in March, when bank repossessions hit a 17-month high of 36,152 properties (repossessions peaked at 102,134 in September 2010).
“The March increase is continued cleanup of distress still lingering from the previous housing crisis; not the beginning of a new crisis by any means,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, in a news release about the report. “Some of the most stubborn foreclosure cases are finally being flushed out of the foreclosure pipeline, and we would expect to see more noise in the numbers over the next few months as national foreclosure activity makes its way back to more stable patterns by the end of this year.”
10 States With Stubbornly High Foreclosure Rates
Many states with consistently high foreclosure rates — like Florida, Illinois and New Jersey — remained at the top of that list in the first quarter, even as foreclosure activity declined from last year. Here are the 10 states with the highest foreclosure rates in the first quarter.
Number of homes with a foreclosure filing in Q1 2015: 1 in every 409 housing units
Change from Q1 2014: -13.81%
Change from Q4 2014: -1.12%
Like most of the states on this list, California’s foreclosure rate fell from where it was in the first quarter of 2014 — a decline of 13.81%. In March, the foreclosure rate jumped a bit from February (up nearly 8%), driven both by increases in repossessions (up 10.64%) and homes entering the foreclosure process for the first time (up 8.49%).
9. South Carolina
Foreclosure rate in Q1 2015: 1 in every 363
Change from Q1 2014: -18.51%
Change from Q4 2014: -8.97%
South Carolina was among many states that recorded large increases in properties entering the foreclosure process in March, with foreclosure starts increasing 63.42% from February.
Foreclosure rate in Q1 2015: 1 in every 338
Change from Q1 2014: -9.27%
Change from Q4 2014: -7.01%
Indiana maintained a high foreclosure rate throughout the first quarter, despite a relatively uneventful March. About the same number of homes entered foreclosure in March as did in February, and repossessions declined about 13%.
Foreclosure rate in Q1 2015: 1 in every 332
Change from Q1 2014: -16.23%
Change from Q4 2014: -17.24%
A surge in foreclosure completions — 54% more than in the first quarter of 2014 — helped keep Ohio’s foreclosure rate high in the first quarter, even as foreclosure starts fell 36%.
Foreclosure rate in Q1 2015: 1 in every 300
Change from Q1 2014: -1.88%
Change from Q4 2014: -15.05%
In Delaware, more foreclosures are popping up than are being flushed out of the system: Foreclosure starts increased 13% from the first quarter of 2014 to 2015, while bank repossessions dropped 12%.
5. New Jersey
Foreclosure rate in Q1 2015: 1 in every 234
Change from Q1 2014: +17.24%
Change from Q4 2014: -36.15%
New Jersey had a moment in 2014 where it dethroned Florida as the state with the highest foreclosure rate, but things appear to be heading in a good direction. From the start of 2014, bank repossessions have increased 18%, and foreclosure starts have declined 10%. New Jersey had the greatest increase year over year in its quarterly foreclosure rate among the states on this list.
Foreclosure rate in Q1 2015: 1 in every 221
Change from Q1 2014: +3.81%
Change from Q4 2014: +10.9%
Foreclosure has been a persistent issue in the Land of Lincoln for quite a while, and the first quarter of this year was no different. Repossessions are up 16% from last year, there was an 8% increase in properties entering foreclosure, and the overall foreclosure rate continued to climb year-over-year and month-over-month.
Foreclosure rate in Q1 2015: 1 in every 209
Change from Q1 2014: +8.05%
Change from Q4 2014: +16.21%
Nevada had the largest increase in foreclosure activity from the end of 2014 to the start of 2015 (of the states on our list). It was one of only two states on this list (the other is Illinois) to see increases in both time frames.
Foreclosure rate in Q1 2015: 1 in every 199
Change from Q1 2014: -4.76%
Change from Q4 2014: -14.11%
The biggest change in Maryland’s foreclosure activity came from bank repossessions. Repossessions increased 39% from the same time in 2014, and they also increased 39% from February to March.
Foreclosure rate in Q1 2015: 1 in every 178
Change from Q1 2014: -27.15%
Change from Q4 2014: -5.93%
Foreclosure activity may be down significantly from last year, but Florida has a long way to fall. The Sunshine State fared terribly during the foreclosure crisis, and even though things are improving, it remains an incredibly common struggle for Florida homeowners.
Nationwide, one in every 421 residential housing units were in foreclosure last quarter, meaning millions of Americans continue to struggle paying for their homes. Missing loan payments seriously damages consumers’ credit scores, making it harder or more expensive to access credit or even rent an apartment. While foreclosure will damage a consumer’s credit for many years, the sooner that person can return to making on-time loan payments and minimizing their debt, the faster he or she will be able to recover from the setback. If you want to know how your payment history is affecting your credit, you can get a free credit report summary on Credit.com.
More on Mortgages & Homebuying:
- Why You Should Check Your Credit Before Buying a Home
- How to Refinance Your Home Loan With Bad Credit
- How to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage