National foreclosure filings continued to climb in the first three months of 2006, evidence that more U.S. homeowners are struggling to stay current on their monthly mortgage payments.
A total of 323,102 properties nationwide entered some stage of foreclosure in the first quarter of 2006, a 72 percent year-over-year increase from the first quarter of 2005 and a 38 percent increase from the previous quarter, according to the RealtyTrac™ U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. The nation’s quarterly foreclosure rate of one new foreclosure for every 358 U.S. households was higher than in any quarter of last year.
Foreclosures by quarter
“The sharp increase in foreclosures in Q1 continues a steady upward trend that we’ve observed since the beginning of last year,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Foreclosures have now increased in four consecutive quarters and are on track to go above 1.2 million in 2006, which would push the nation’s annual foreclosure rate to more than 1 percent of U.S. households.”
Saccacio noted that foreclosures actually dipped 13 percent from February to March, a signal that the nation’s foreclosure rate could be leveling off after the long run-up.
“With the current market conditions, it’s unlikely that foreclosures will return to the historically low levels they were at in recent years when interest rates hit rock bottom and home price appreciation skyrocketed in many areas of the country,” he said. “But it’s possible that foreclosures will flatten out or even move a bit lower this Spring if more buyers and investors enter the market, giving homeowners in distress a better chance of selling their properties to avoid going into default or foreclosure.”
Georgia, Colorado and Indiana post highest foreclosure rates
Despite a 19 percent decrease in new foreclosures in March, Georgia documented the highest state foreclosure rate in the first quarter of 2006 — one new foreclosure for every 127 households. The state reported 24,419 properties entering some stage of foreclosure, more than two times the number reported in the previous quarter and nearly three times the number reported in the first quarter of 2005.
Colorado’s quarterly foreclosure rate of one new foreclosure for every 138 households registered as the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate. The state reported a total of 13,267 properties entering some stage of foreclosure in the first quarter of 2006, more than twice the number reported in the previous quarter and a 96 percent increase from the first quarter of 2005.
With one new foreclosure for every 165 households, Indiana documented the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate in the first quarter of 2006. The state reported 15,261 properties entering some stage of foreclosure, an 84 percent increase from the previous quarter and more than twice the number reported in the first quarter of 2005.
Other states with first-quarter foreclosure rates ranking among the nation’s 10 highest included Nevada, Michigan, Texas, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Florida.
Texas, Florida and California report most foreclosures
Texas reported the most first-quarter foreclosures of any state, 40,236, and Florida reported the second most with 29,636. California was a close third with 29,537 properties entering some stage of foreclosure in the first quarter of 2006, but the state’s quarterly foreclosure rate of one foreclosure for every 414 households was below the national average.
Also among the 10 states with the most foreclosures in the first quarter were New York, which reported 13,795 properties entering some stage of foreclosure, and Illinois, which reported 13,691 properties entering some stage of foreclosure.
The RealtyTrac 2006 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report provides the total number of homes entering some stage of foreclosure nationwide and by state for each month. RealtyTrac’s report includes properties in all three phases of foreclosure: Pre-foreclosures — Notice of Default (NOD) and Lis Pendens (LIS); Foreclosures — Notice of Trustee Sale and Notice of Foreclosure Sale (NTS and NFS); and Real Estate Owned, or REO properties (that have been re-purchased by a bank).
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