Foreclosure filings crept up 2% in the most recent weekly survey, but still declined 28% from year ago levels, RealtyTrac reported Thursday.

In all, the data firm recorded 133,919 filings in October.

For the 16th month in a row, judicial foreclosure auctions increased from year ago levels, with 30,023 foreclosure auctions nationwide in October, up 10% from the prior month and up 7% from last year.

Overall, there were 58,939 properties that started the foreclosure process for the first time in October, rising 2% from September, but down 34% from last year.

This marks the 15th consecutive month where foreclosure starts have declined on an annual basis, the data firm said.

Individually, Maryland, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Florida witnessed the largest annual increases in scheduled judicial foreclosures. In particular, Maryland and Delaware shocked with dramatic 'judicial foreclosure' increases of 177% and 142%, respectively.

"The backlog of delayed judicial foreclosures continues to make its way through the pipeline, with many of these properties now being scheduled for the public auction after starting the foreclosure process last year or earlier this year," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.

"Lenders are likely moving these properties more rapidly to the public auction given that there is strong demand from institutional buy-to-rent investors at the auction and that rising home prices mean more of the loan losses can be recouped, either by selling to an investor at the auction or by repossessing the property and reselling as bank owned," he added.   

Foreclosure starts were up from the previous month in 22 states, including Colorado, Florida and Illinois, which saw rises of 124%, 36% and 30%, respectively.

Meanwhile, there were a total of 37,775 bank repossessions nationwide for the month, a 1% drop from September and 29% lower than year ago levels: the 11th consecutive month where bank repossessions have decreased annually.

Fifteen states experienced a rise in bank repossessions, including Oklahoma, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and Washington.

In addition, Florida, Nevada, Maryland, Ohio and Illinois had the five highest foreclosure rates.

"People who defaulted three years ago are just now beginning the rest of the foreclosure process, which explains the recent rise in bank repossessions in Oklahoma," said Sheldon Detrick, CEO of Prudential Detrick/Prudential Alliance Realty.

"When home prices were heading downward banks would sometimes send default notices to homeowners but allow the them to stay in the home without making payments if the homeowner would maintain the home and keep it in good condition. Now that the economy is improving and home prices are rising, banks are willing to complete the foreclosure process if homeowners don’t start making their payments again," Detrick explained. 

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