Is Foreclosure Activity on the Rise?

According to RealtyTrac, January foreclosure filings nationwide increased by 8% over December, one of the largest month-over-month increases in recent history. For purposes of RealtyTrac’s report, the term “monthly foreclosure filings” includes lis pendens filings,  default notices, foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions. A total of 124,419 such events occurred in January.

At least in part, the increase was the result of the “holiday lull”, which is the period during the fourth quarter during which lenders typically forgo foreclosure actions, only to start making up for lost time in January. Yet and still, January marked the 40th consecutive month in which foreclosure activity declined on an annual basis, with filings down 18%.

“California foreclosure starts jumped 57 percent from a year ago, following 17 consecutive months of annual decreases,” according to RealtyTrac’s vice president Daren Blomquist.

On the one hand, actual scheduled foreclosure auctions jumped 13% in January compared with December. On the other, that specific activity remains 8% down from one year ago. This equates to 38 consecutive months in which scheduled foreclosure auctions nationwide have decreased on an annual basis.

And, the foreclosure process was initiated in the case of 57,259 properties in the U.S. in January, which represents a 10% increase over December, yet remains 12% less than last year.