Bank repossessions of homes are at their lowest level since July 2007. But foreclosures rose 4 percent from February to March as 117,485 U.S. properties were foreclosed last month, according to a new report by RealtyTrac. That equates to 1 in every 385 homes nationwide receiving a foreclosure filing.
Compared to a year ago, foreclosure filings are down 23 percent across the U.S., according to the report. March was the 42nd consecutive month of declining foreclosures from a year ago, dropping first-quarter foreclosure activity to its lowest point since the second quarter of 2007. The decline is allowing banks to deal with properties that have been in foreclosure limbo for a while, says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, which along with compiling real estate stats is a marketplace for foreclosed and defaulted properties.
"Banks will also now be able to devote more resources to dealing with the lingering inventory of nearly half a million already-foreclosed homes that still need to be sold," Blomquist said in a news release. "Our estimates indicate only 10 percent of these bank-owned properties are listed for sale and more than half are still occupied by the former homeowner or tenant."
Florida is where most of the highest foreclosure rates are happening. Florida's foreclosures dropped less than 1 percent from the previous quarter, and were down 19 percent from a year ago. But the state still has the nation's highest state foreclosure rate with 1 in every 129 housing units with a foreclosure filing during the quarter.
RealtyTrac ranked the major metropolitan areas (with populations of 200,000 or more) by the ratio of homes that were in foreclosure. One of every 385 homes nationwide were foreclosed, on average.
Here are the 13 metros with the highest ratio of foreclosures, starting with three areas that are tied for 11th:
Metropolitan Areas With the Most Foreclosures
Cities With the Most Foreclosures
1 in every 508 homes received a foreclosure filing in March 2014. Properties with foreclosure filings: 397. Change from February 2014: -1.49 percent. Change from March 2013: -14.25 percent.