Home Foreclosures Surge in October

U.S. home foreclosure filings in October edged up 2 percent from September but at 224,451 were a whopping 94 percent higher than a year earlier, real estate data firm RealtyTrac said Thursday.

Foreclosured Home
David J. Phillip
Foreclosured Home

The figure, a sum of default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions, was down from a 32-month peak in August however, RealtyTrac, an online market of foreclosure of properties, said in its monthly foreclosure market report.

RealtyTrac said the national foreclosure rate was one filing for every 555 U.S. households in October.

"Overall foreclosure activity continues to register at a high level compared to last year but it appears to have leveled off over the past two months after hitting a high for the year in August," James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said in a statement.

In September, home foreclosure filings fell 8 percent.

Default Rates Jumped

Default rates in the subprime segment of the U.S. mortgage market, which caters to borrowers with poor credit histories, have jumped this year as the housing industry slowed and prices fell in many regions, particularly areas that benefited the most during the housing market's boom from 2000 to 2005.

"Default notices were down nearly 9 percent in October, indicating that some of the efforts on the part of homeowners, lenders and advocacy groups to find alternatives to foreclosure may be starting to have an impact," Saccacio said.

"On the other hand, bank repossessions were up nearly 35 percent, evidence that more homeowners who enter foreclosure are losing their homes," he added.

Nevada, once one of the hottest real estate markets and a favorite among investors, led the nation with one foreclosure filing for every 154 households, 3.6 times the national average. Its 6,618 filings were up 20 percent from September and were nearly triple those reported in October 2006.

California foreclosure activity fell nearly 2 percent from the previous month, but its rate of one filing for every 258 households still ranked the second-highest in the nation.

California's reported foreclosure filings totaled 50,401, more than triple the number reported in October 2006.

Florida's rate of one foreclosure filing for every 273 households ranks it third-highest. Its 30,190 filings in October were down more than 9 percent from September but still up nearly 165 percent from a year earlier.

Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, Colorado, Arizona, Indiana and Illinois were other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the country's 10 highest.