Foreclosure noticeAlmost all the recent data about home values, sales and construction have pointed to a sharp rebound toward the record levels of 2006. The market still has a great distance to go before it returns there. And the information is more mixed than people might assume.

Foreclosures will stay a point of pressure on home sales and prices for months and perhaps years. In certain markets, the lack of foreclosure rate recovery is likely to wound any recovery. Put another way, all real estate problems are local, and a complete national recovery is not possible until the weakest markets show progress.

According to the RealtyTrac report on February:

U.S. foreclosure starts increased 10 percent from the previous month after three consecutive monthly decreases, but were still down 25 percent from February 2012.

And:

its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for February 2013, shows foreclosure filings - default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions - were reported on 154,281 U.S. properties in February, an increase of 2 percent from the previous month but still down 25 percent from February 2012. The report also shows one in every 849 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.

The states where the home market cratered between 2007 and 2011 have barely rebounded at all.

Nevada foreclosure starts in February increased 334 percent from a year ago to a 17-month high, keeping the state's foreclosure rate as the second highest nationwide for the fifth month in a row. One in every 320 Nevada housing units had a foreclosure filing in February, more than twice the national average.

Despite the third straight month-over-month decrease in foreclosure activity in February, Illinois posted the nation's third highest state foreclosure rate for the second month in a row: one in every 417 housing units with a foreclosure filing. A total of 12,671 Illinois properties had a foreclosure filing in February, down 10 percent from the previous month and down 5 percent from February 2012.

Ohio foreclosure activity increased 26 percent from the previous month and was up 12 percent from a year ago, boosting the state's foreclosure rate to the fourth highest among the states. Ohio foreclosure activity has increased on an annual basis in 11 out of the past 13 months.

Washington foreclosure activity increased on an annual basis for the seventh consecutive month in February, helping to push the state's foreclosure rate to fifth highest nationwide. February's No. 5 ranking was the highest foreclosure rate ranking for Washington since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005. A total of 4,362 Washington properties had a foreclosure filing during the month, an increase of 123 percent from February 2012 and one in every 656 housing units.

Maryland foreclosure activity increased on an annual basis for the eighth consecutive month in February, driven largely by a 319 percent jump in foreclosure starts, lifting the state's foreclosure rate to the ninth highest nationwide. February was the first month since July 2010 that Maryland's foreclosure rate ranked among the top 10 nationwide.

Foreclosure activity was flat or decreased from a year ago in the other four states with foreclosure rates among the top 10: Arizona at No. 6 (one in 704 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Georgia at No. 7 (one in 705 housing units); Utah at No. 8 (one in 713 housing units); and Michigan at No. 10 (one in 724 housing units).

Nevada's housing market may not recover for decades due to the flood of homes on the market, and the ongoing foreclosure trends. Once a more local basis, the trouble in the next most damaged housing markets shows up on a city-by-city basis. In Florida:

Reporting one in every 219 housing units with a foreclosure filing in February, the Miami metro area posted the nation's highest foreclosure rate among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more.

Six other Florida metro areas documented foreclosure rates in the top 10: Orlando at No. 2 (one in 225 housing units with a foreclosure filing); Ocala at No. 3 (one in 243 housing units); Tampa at No. 4 (one in 253 housing units); Palm Bay at No. 5 (one in 260 housing units); Jacksonville at No. 8 (one in 302 housing units); and Naples at No. 9 (one in 318 housing units). Foreclosure activity increased from a year ago in all seven Florida cities with top 10 metro foreclosure rates.

Other cities with foreclosure rates in the top 10 were Las Vegas at No. 6 (one in 283 housing units); Rockford, Ill., at No. 7 (one in 291 housing units); and Chicago at No. 10 (one in 331 housing units).

In places like Florida, and those only slightly more fortunate, the housing market remains a vicious cycle. Foreclosures drive down prices. More homes are pressed underwater. The owners of those homes, who in many cases have onerous mortgage costs, reach a point of despair or an inability to make payments. And another wave of foreclosures begins


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Housing Tagged: featured

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