Foreclosure activity in U.S. hits 3 year low: RealtyTrac

There were 681,153 properties under foreclosure filings in the U.S. during the first quarter, down 15% from the previous quarter and down 27% from the first quarter of 2010. March foreclosure filings, with 239,795 reported nationally, were down 35% from a year before.

But the U.S. housing market itself was in no better shape, said James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, adding that he expects foreclosure filings to pick up again in the near future.

“Weak demand, declining home prices and the lack of credit availability are weighing heavily on the market, which is still facing the dual threat of a looming shadow inventory of distressed properties and the probability that foreclosure activity will begin to increase again as lenders and services gradually work their way through the backlog of thousands of foreclosures that have been delayed due to improperly processed paperwork,” Saccacio said.

Nevada, home to Las Vegas, has the highest foreclosure rate in the country – one in every 35 housing units has a foreclosure filing, despite a 10% decrease over the previous quarter. Arizona ranked second in foreclosure rate, with one in every 60 homes under foreclosure, and California was third, with one in every 80 homes under foreclosure.

Other states have an entirely different picture. Vermont, for example, only has one in nearly 10,000 properties under foreclosure, and in North Dakota, it’s one in every 4,200.

Within metropolitan areas, Las Vegas-Paradise ranked first, with one in every 31 properties under foreclosure. Out of the top 12 metro locations for foreclosures, nine were in California for the first quarter. Modesto and Stockton led that state, with one in every 46 and one in every 47 properties under foreclosure, respectively.

RealtyTrac reported California accounted for 25% of the entire U.S. foreclosure activity in the first quarter.

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