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'Record' Foreclosure Volume in March: Report

Foreclosure filings -- including default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- rose 9% in Q109 from Q408 and 24% on a year-over-year basis from Q108, according to the U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released today by RealtyTrac. California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois accounted for 60% of the nation's total foreclosure activity volume in Q109, RealtyTrac found. The raw volume of foreclosure activity per state seems less important in light of the rate of properties with foreclosure filings to those without. On a national scale, one in every 159 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing during the quarter. Nevada and California boasted the highest foreclosure filing rates. One in every 27 Nevada housing units and one in every 54 California housing units received a foreclosure filing in the quarter, according to the report. There were plenty of states, however, with rates more than six times lower than the national rate. Vermont boasted the lowest rate of the quarter, with one in every 14,830 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing. RealtyTrac designated Vermont one of 10 states with a rate of more than 1,000 homes for every one foreclosure filing. Of the nine other states -- including Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North and South Dakota and Wyoming -- South Dakota boasted the second-lowest filing rate, with one foreclosure filing in every 3,721 homes in the quarter. March alone posted record highs in foreclosure activity, with 341,180 properties receiving foreclosure filings, a 17% increase from February and 46% year-over-year increase from March '08. The report marks the "highest monthly and quarterly totals" recorded since RealtyTrac began reporting in '05. “In the month of March we saw a record level of foreclosure activity — the number of households that received a foreclosure filing was more than 12 percent higher than the next highest month on record," CEO James Saccacio said in a press statement. "Since much of this activity was in new foreclosure actions, it suggests that many lenders and servicers were holding off on executing foreclosures due to industry moratoria and legislative delays.” These delays, rather than current foreclosure prevention programs, likely drove decreased real estate-owned activity, and therefore "it’s very likely that we’ll see the number of REOs increase again now that most of the moratoria have been lifted," Saccacio said. Housing demand, especially for bank-owned properties seen as bargains, appears to be on the rise, "but it’s unlikely that this increased demand will be enough to offset the growing number of foreclosures in the pipeline, accelerated by rising unemployment rates.” Read the report. Write to Diana Golobay at diana.golobay@housingwire.com.

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