"The influx of foreclosure activity in 2012 in many local markets should translate into more foreclosure inventory available for sale in 2013 in those markets," Blomquist noted. "That is good news for buyers and investors, but could result in some short-term weakness in home prices as the often-discounted foreclosure sales weigh down overall home values."
Rising home prices helped boost home values in 2012, thereby lifting many homeowners across the country out of negative equity compared to a year ago. About 10.9 million homeowners nationwide -- representing 26 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage -- owed at least 25 percent more on their combined mortgages than what their homes were worth as of January 2013, down from 12.5 million seriously underwater homeowners representing 28 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage in January 2012.
Average days to foreclose nationwide jumps to 414
U.S. properties foreclosed in the fourth quarter took an average of 414 days to complete the foreclosure process, up from 382 days in the third quarter and up from 348 days in the fourth quarter of 2011. It was the longest time to complete the foreclosure process since RealtyTrac began tracking the metric in the first quarter of 2007.
New York had the longest average time to foreclose, at 1,089 -- up from 1,072 days in the third quarter and up from 1,019 days in the fourth quarter of 2011 -- followed by New Jersey at 987 days -- up from 931 days in the third quarter and up from 964 days in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The average time to foreclose in Florida decreased for the second straight quarter but was still the third highest in the country at 853 days, followed by Hawaii at 781 days and Illinois at 697 days.
The average time to foreclose in Texas increased 17 percent from the previous quarter and was up 26 percent from a year ago, but the state still documented the shortest average time to complete a foreclosure, at 113 days.
Other states with the shortest foreclosure timelines in the fourth quarter were Delaware (145 days), Virginia (146 days), Alabama (163 days), Maine (168 days) and Georgia (170 days).
Top metro foreclosure rates
Despite a 25 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from 2011, Stockton, Calif., posted the nation's highest foreclosure rate in 2012 among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more: 3.98 percent of housing units (one in 25) with a foreclosure filing during the year.
Six other California cities ranked in the top 20 highest metro foreclosure rates for the year, including Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at No. 2 (3.86 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing), Modesto at No. 3 (3.82 percent), and Vallejo-Fairfield at No. 4 (3.73 percent). All seven California metro areas in the top 20 posted decreasing foreclosure activity from 2011.
Florida cities accounted for eight of the top 20 highest metro foreclosure rates in 2012, led by Miami at No. 5 (3.71 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing), Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville at No. 6 (3.60 percent), and Orlando at No. 8 (3.46 percent). Seven out of the eight Florida metro areas in the top 20 documented an increase in foreclosure activity for the year.
Other metro areas with foreclosure rates in the top 20 were Atlanta at No. 7 (3.51 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing), Chicago at No. 9 (3.31 percent), Rockford, Ill., at No. 10 (3.28 percent), Las Vegas at No. 16 (3.10 percent), and Phoenix at No. 17 (3.09 percent).
Click here to learn about RealtyTrac's report methodology and to view detailed data by state.
The RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report is the result of a proprietary evaluation of information compiled by RealtyTrac; the report and any of the information in whole or in part can only be quoted, copied, published, re-published, distributed and/or re-distributed or used in any manner if the user specifically references RealtyTrac as the source for said report and/or any of the information set forth within the report.
Data Licensing and Custom Report Order
Investors, businesses and government institutions can contact RealtyTrac to license bulk foreclosure and neighborhood data or purchase customized reports. We can provide you with nationwide, regional or local data and reports dating back to 2005 for both internal use and resale. For more information contact our Data Licensing Department at 800.462.5193 or email@example.com.
About RealtyTrac Inc.
RealtyTrac (www.realtytrac.com) is the leading supplier of U.S. real estate data, with more than 1.5 million active default, foreclosure auction and bank-owned properties, and more than 1 million active for-sale listings on its website, which also provides essential housing information for more than 100 million homes nationwide. This information includes property characteristics, tax assessor records, bankruptcy status and sales history, along with 20 categories of key housing-related facts provided by RealtyTrac's wholly-owned subsidiary, Homefacts®. RealtyTrac's foreclosure reports and other housing data are relied on by the Federal Reserve, U.S. Treasury Department, HUD, numerous state housing and banking departments, investment funds as well as millions of real estate professionals and consumers, to help evaluate housing trends and make informed decisions about real estate.
Jennifer von Pohlmann
949.502.8300, ext. 139
949.502.8300, ext. 268
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