One in every 398 US household units received a foreclosure filing in May, according to data from RealtyTrac released Thursday.

That’s a 6% decrease in foreclosure activity — which includes default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — from April, but still up nearly 18% from last year at this time.

May foreclosure activity is actually the third highest month on record, and marks the third straight month where the total number of properties with foreclosure filings exceeded 300,000, RealtyTrac says.

“While defaults and scheduled foreclosure auctions were both down from the previous month, bank repossessions were up two percent thanks largely to substantial increases in several states, including Michigan, Arizona, Washington, Nevada, Oregon and New York,” says James Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac.

Nevada continued to post the highest overall foreclosure rate, with one in every 64 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the month — one in every 64! California recorded the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate, despite a 4% decrease in foreclosure activity from the prior month. And Florida came in third, with one in every 148 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing. Rounding out the top ten states are Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Georgia, Texas and Virginia.

Foreclosure activity remains somewhat concentrated, with these 10 states accounting for almost 77% of total US foreclosure activity.

As for metropolitan areas, Nevada’s Las Vegas has been slammed by the foreclosure crisis, as filings were reported on 14,861 of its properties in May. That’s one in every 54 housing units. Of the top ten hardest hit metropolitan areas, California cities accounted for six and Florida accounted for three.

In a separate report today, the Federal Reserve reported the net worth of households fell by a whopping $1.3trn during first-quarter 2009, further inhibiting homeowners attempting to stay afloat on their mortgages.

Write to Kelly Curran.

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