Foreclosure activity slows in the U.S. partly due to lack of buyers

The inventory of properties in the foreclosure process was down 33% compared to May 2010, but the number of bank-owned repossessions (REOs) was up in April and May.

“That points to continued weak demand from buyers, making it tough for lenders to unload their REO inventory,” said James Saccacio, chief executive officer for RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties.

California, Arizona and Nevada remained the top states for foreclosures. In Nevada, the foreclosure rate rose for a 53rd straight month with one in every 103 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during May, the highest rate in the U.S. The rate in Arizona is one in every 210 housing units, and one in every 259 housing units in California.

In fact, five states account for more than half of the U.S. foreclosure activity: Arizona, California, Michigan, Nevada and Utah.

In terms of metropolitan areas, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue led the way with a 71% increase in foreclosure activity from the third quarter of 2009, followed by Chicago-Naperville-Joliet with a 35% increase. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown posted a 26% increase in foreclosure activity from a year earlier.

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