Home/Mortgages/Foreclosures: Calm Before the Storm?

March 19, 2012 (Chris Moore)

Foreclosure activity continued to fall nationwide in February but the foreclosure pipeline is hardly unclogged as a new wave of activity is expected to hit following the recent $25 billion mortgage settlement between the five largest banks and the state attorneys general.

Foreclosure filings fell two percent from January to February and were eight percent lower than a year ago according to RealtyTrac’s Foreclosure Market Report. A total of 206,900 properties in the U.S. received either a default notice, was scheduled for an auction or was repossessed in February.

February’s foreclosure activity follows a 19 percent decline in January but also saw 21 states and the District of Columbia post increases in foreclosure activity with that number expected to increase in the future.

Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac, stated, “February’s numbers point to a gradually rising foreclosure tide as some of the barriers that have been holding back foreclosures are removed. The foreclosure and mortgage settlement filed in court earlier this week will help pave the way to a properly functioning foreclosure process by providing a clear roadmap for necessary foreclosures. That should result in more states posting annual increases in the coming months.”

Notice of Default (NoDs):

Default notices were one percent higher in February than in January and were seven percent lower than a year ago. A total of 58,886 default notices were filed for the first time in February.

Twelve states posted year-over-year increases of at least 20 percent. The five highest states were Hawaii (321% increase), Maryland (157% increase), Connecticut (64% increase), South Carolina (58% increase) and Indiana (37% increase).

The five states with the largest decline in NoDs were Nevada (89% decrease), Michigan (72% decrease), New York (44% decrease), Iowa (28% decrease) and Kentucky (25% decrease).


Scheduled auctions fell two percent from January and were 13 percent lower than in February of last year.

Thirteen states posted a year-over-year increase of at least 25 percent in February with the largest increases posted in Kentucky (190% increase), Illinois (170% increase), Iowa (98% increase), Pennsylvania (95% increase) and Indiana (92% increase).


Lenders repossessed 63,834 properties in February, down 4 percent from January and down one percent from a year earlier.

Repossessions increased at least 20 percent in 17 states year-over-year with Massachusetts (114% increase), North Carolina (95% increase), Florida (90% increase), South Carolina (87% increase) and Georgia (76% increase) seeing the largest increases.

Half of the nations 20 largest metropolitan areas reported increases in foreclosure activity for the month. The five cities with the largest year-over-year increase in foreclosure activity were Tampa (64% increase), Miami (53% increase), Chicago (43% increase), Philadelphia (47% increase) and Baltimore (41% increase).

The five cities with the highest foreclosure rate in February were Riverside-San Bernardino in California (one in 166 housing units), Atlanta (one in 244), Phoenix (one in 259), Miami (one in 264) and Chicago (one in 302).

Tags: foreclosures, notice of default, foreclosure auctions, lender repossessions, mortgage settlement