RealtyTrac, the online marketplace for foreclosures, reports a yearly decrease in 131 out of the nation’s 212 metropolitan areas.

“Two-thirds of the nation’s largest metros posted decreases in foreclosure activity in the third quarter, indicating that most of the nation’s housing markets are past the worst of the foreclosure problem” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “In fact foreclosure activity in September 2012 was below September 2007 levels in 58% of the metro markets we track."

Foreclosure activity decreased annually in 12 out of the nation’s 20 largest metro areas.  San Francisco saw the largest decrease at 36%, in front of Detroit with 31%. Rounding out the top five markets with the largest decrease is Los Angeles (29%), Phoenix (27%) and San Diego (26%).

In markets where activity increased, the increased were also notably large. This is especially true for frontrunner New York, with a 69% increase in annual foreclosure activity. The other top markets for upticks in foreclosures are Tampa (43%), Philadelphia (34%), Chicago (34%), and Seattle (20%).

“The rebounding foreclosure activity tends to be in markets where the foreclosure process slowed down most dramatically in the last two years, resulting in a buildup of foreclosures in limbo that lenders are finally working through this year," Blomquist said.

Despite a 21 percent annual decline in foreclosure activity, Stockton, Calif., documented the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate in the third quarter — one in every 67 housing units with a foreclosure filing, more than three times the national average.

California cities — including Stockton— accounted for the seven highest metro foreclosure rates in the nation during the third quarter, although foreclosure activity decreased from a year ago in all seven metros.

Read the full report here.

jgaffney@housingwire.com