For the third month in a row, U.S. foreclosure activity registered at more than 50 percent above the level it was at a year ago, according to the March 2008 RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.
And for the second month in a row, the number of bank repossessions, or REOs, was up more than 100 percent year over year.
RealtyTrac’s latest report shows that foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 234,685 properties nationwide during the month, a 5 percent increase from the previous month and a 57 percent increase from March 2007.
The report also shows one in every 538 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing during the month.
“The March numbers show that overall foreclosure activity so far this year continues to run nearly 60 percent above the levels we saw last year,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “On a year-over-year basis, default notices were up nearly 57 percent and bank repossessions were up nearly 129 percent, but auction notices were up only 32 percent, indicating that more defaulting homeowners are simply walking away and deeding their properties back to the foreclosing lender. This deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure process allows the lender to take possession of a property without putting it up for public foreclosure auction.”
Nevada, California, Florida posted the top state foreclosure rates.
California, Florida, Ohio reported the highest foreclosure totals.
Even more homeowners are expected to go into default and foreclosure in the third and fourth quarters of this year, as the number of adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) resetting to higher rates peaks in May and June.