The housing market across many parts of the U.S. continues to improve as RealtyTrac reports this morning that foreclosure rates continued to fall last month.
The firm which specializes in tracking the numbers of availability of economically distressed property reported that 131,232 houses were in some part of the foreclosure process last month, a 2% drop from August and a 27% drop from one year previously.
“The September and third quarter foreclosure numbers show a housing market that is haltingly returning to health,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
(At left, as the report noted, an overall downward national trend still left lenders in some markets holding the keys. Click on image to see expanded version.)
“In a healthy housing market foreclosures are rare," Blomquist said, "but streamlined while still protecting the rights of the homeowner. While foreclosures are clearly becoming fewer and farther between in most markets, the increasing time it takes to foreclose is holding back a more robust and sustainable recovery.”
But Blomquist also pointed to the reality that while there has been a decline nationwide, some specific markets have still reflected the trend.
“The sharp jumps in foreclosure activity in some local markets may come as a surprise to some,” Blomquist added. “These spikes in activity demonstrate that while millions of distressed homeowners have been pulled back from the precipice by foreclosure prevention programs over the past several years, once those programs expire or are exhausted, a percentage of these troubled homeowners are still susceptible to falling into foreclosure. In addition even slight economic downturns at the local or regional level can push these homeowners hanging on by a thread over the edge.”
For example, while September foreclosure activity decreased from a year ago in 144 of the 209 metro areas tracked in the report (69%), it increased from a year ago in 64 metro areas, including Baltimore (up 381%), Las Vegas (up 109%), Raleigh, N.C. (up 97%), Hartford, Conn., (up 74%), Washington D.C., (up 52%), Philadelphia (up 32%), and New York (up 25%).