U.S. foreclosure activity jumped in August for the second consecutive month as banks started the process on more properties and scheduled more housing auctions, industry firm RealtyTrac said on Thursday.
Overall, 116,913 properties were at some stage of the foreclosure process, which includes foreclosure notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, the group said.
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That pushed overall activity up 7 percent from July, it said. From a year ago, foreclosure activity was down 9 percent.
Lenders started the foreclosure process on about 55,000 properties in August, up 12 percent from July, but unchanged from a year ago. It was the second consecutive month in which foreclosure starts were up month-over-month.
A total of 51,192 properties were set for foreclosure auctions last month, a 1 percent drop from July but up 1 percent from a year ago, ending a 44-month streak of annual decreases.
"It's not time to get worried about another tsunami of foreclosures hitting anything close to what we saw back in 2008 to 2010," Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, told Reuters. "However, it is reason to wake up and realize the housing recovery we've seen over the past two years is not as strong as it might have seemed."
State legislation aimed at protecting homeowners and court rulings that imposed new requirements on lenders had helped dampen foreclosures.
Blomquist said the increase in auctions indicated mortgage servicers were adjusting to the new rules.
Lenders reclaimed 26,343 properties in August, up 2 percent from the prior month but down 33 percent from a year ago.
Florida continued to have the nation's highest foreclosure rate last month, followed by Nevada, Maryland, New Jersey and Georgia.