Overall foreclosure activity continued to plunge annually for the 11th month in a row from last year but inched up month over month.
Foreclosure filings declined 22% from a year ago, according to the ATTOM Data Solutions’ Foreclosure Market Report. However, May saw a 1% increase in foreclosure activity from April, with 56,152 US properties reported for foreclosure.
"We are continuing to see a downward trend with overall foreclosure activity, especially in completed foreclosures declining year after year," said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. "However, in May 2019 we did see an uptick in the number of states increasing in foreclosure starts going from 17 to 23 states rising annually, and again Florida is bucking the national trend with a continuous annual increase."
Lenders completed foreclosures on 10,634 properties, a drop of 4% from the prior month and 50% from a year ago for the seventh consecutive annual decline, the report showed.
It also revealed that one in every 2,411 housing units had a foreclosure filing nationwide. New Jersey had the highest foreclosure rate, with a foreclosure filing on one in every 1,117 housing units.
Other states with high foreclosure rates included Maryland (one in every 1,127 housing units), Florida (one in every 1,238 housing units), Delaware (one in every 1,279 housing units), and Illinois (one in every 1,363 housing units).
Every state nationwide except for Vermont experienced annual declines in completed foreclosures. Michigan (down 84%), Massachusetts (74%), Indiana (67), Kentucky (66%), and New Jersey (64%) all saw an annual decline of over 50% in REOs.
On the flip side, the activity of lenders starting the foreclosure process climbed in some states, including Wisconsin (up 99%), Kentucky (64%), Louisiana (53%), Missouri (34%), and Florida (23%).
Meanwhile, Texas (down 39%), Pennsylvania (38%), Massachusetts (34%), Oklahoma (29%), and New York (25%) posted annual drops in foreclosure starts in May.
"To put the numbers in perspective, I would use a full year, perhaps 2006, as a 'normal' benchmark number. That would be the last year before the real estate world crashed," said Bruce Norris, president of The Norris Group. "The total foreclosure starts for Florida in 2006 was 102,875. In 2018, there were 33,031 foreclosure starts. Even at a 25% increase over 2018, 2019 will still be less than 50% of 2006. An increase of some 8,000 foreclosure starts is not a game-changer at this point."