August 15, 2011 (Jeff Alan)

Foreclosure activity decreased four percent from June to July, and was 35 percent below year ago levels, as processing and procedural delays and national and state-level foreclosure prevention programs may be contributing to a delay in the recovery of the housing market according to RealtyTrac’s Foreclosure Market Report for July 2011.

A total of 212,794 U.S. properties received foreclosure filings, either default notices, auction sale notes, or bank repossessions, in July, with one in every 611 U.S. housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.

The reduction in foreclosure filings is not a result of a recovery in the housing market, but has been caused by continuing processing and procedural delays, and a smorgasbord of foreclosure prevention efforts. This has resulted in lenders slowing the pace of foreclosures which RealtyTrac says “should extend current housing market woes into 2012 and beyond.”

“July foreclosure activity dropped 35 percent from a year ago, marking the 10th straight month of year-over-year decreases in foreclosure activity and the lowest monthly total since November 2007,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “This string of decreases was initially triggered by the robo-signing controversy back in October 2010, which forced lenders to substantially slow the pace of foreclosing, but the downward trend in foreclosure activity has now taken on a life of its own. It appears that the foreclosure processing delays, combined with the smorgasbord of national and state-level foreclosure prevention efforts — including loan modifications, lender-borrower mediations and mortgage payment assistance for the unemployed — may be allowing more distressed homeowners to stave off foreclosure.”

Nevada, California, and Arizona maintained the top three spots with the highest foreclosure rates in July. Nevada again led the pack with one in every 115 housing units receiving at least one foreclosure filing. California was second with one in every 239 and Arizona was third with one in every 273 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in July. All three states posted significant declines in year-over-year foreclosure activity.

Rounding out the top ten in foreclosure rates were Georgia, Utah, Florida, Michigan, Idaho, Illinois and Wisconsin.

In sheer numbers, California had the most foreclosure filings with 56,193 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in July, followed by Florida (22,377), Georgia (11,461), Michigan (10,894), Illinois (10,627), Texas (10,571), Arizona (10,098), Nevada (9,930), Ohio (8,376) and Wisconsin (4,534).

The above 10 states accounted for 73 percent of all U.S. foreclosure activity in July.

Tags: RealtyTrac, foreclosures activity, foreclosure filings, default notices, auction sale notes, and bank repossessions, robo-signing