But foreclosure starts – the pace at which mortgages enter the foreclosure process – were up 2 percent on the month to 71,113.
New York saw the biggest surge in foreclosure starts up 200 percent year-over-year. Overall, 23 states saw foreclosure starts rise on a monthly basis, and 12 states posted an annual rise.
While economists have been cranking up their home price forecasts this year, the rise in foreclosure starts is a trend to watch closely. "Although the overall national foreclosure trend continues to head lower, late-blooming foreclosures are bolting higher in some local markets where aggressive foreclosure prevention efforts in previous years are wearing off," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac in a press release.
"Meanwhile, more recent foreclosure prevention efforts in other states have drastically increased the average time to foreclose, which could result in a similar outbreak of delayed foreclosures down the road in those states."
Here are some details from the report:
- Foreclosure filings were down 12 percent quarter-over-quarter in Q1 to 442,117. This was the lowest level since Q2 2007.
- Bank repossessions fell to their lowest rate since September 2007. And the foreclosure timeline (time taken to complete the foreclosure process) increased to 477 days, from 414 days in Q4 2012.
- One in every 317 homes in Florida received a foreclosure filing in March. In the first quarter one in every 104 homes received a foreclosure filing. This was nearly three times the national average of 1 in every 296 housing units in Q1.
- Metro areas in Florida accounted for seven of the 10 highest foreclosure rates in the country in Q1. Miami had the highest with one in every 79 homes receiving a foreclosure filing. The other metros include Orlando, Ocala, Tampa, Jacksonville, Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville and Lakeland.
- Foreclosure starts in Nevada reached an 18-month high in March. Rising foreclosure starts helped drive up foreclosure activity in the state in the first quarter.
Here's a look at the trajectory of foreclosure starts and completions since 2005:
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