IRVINE, Calif. (4/14/14)--Despite an uptick in March, foreclosure activity across the country has fallen to its lowest level since 2007, according to RealtyTrac's U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, released Thursday.
At the end of the first quarter, which ended in March, about 340,000 properties had been hit with foreclosure filings, a 3% drop from the previous quarter and a 23% decrease from last year at this time (RealtyTrac April 10).
One in every 385 housing units in the U.S. had a foreclosure filing--either default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions--in the first quarter.
The increase in foreclosure activity in March was driven in large part by a 7% upswing in foreclosure starts, or the initial step in a foreclosure process, and a 6% jump in scheduled foreclosure auctions.
Even with the increase, however, March still represented the 42nd straight month that foreclosure activity in the U.S. had decreased compared with levels the year prior.
Meanwhile, as the nation's foreclosure numbers are dropping, several states have seen climbing foreclosure activity of late.
Nearly 30 states saw increases in foreclosure auctions, and 19 states watched foreclosure starts push higher.
Florida, Maryland and Nevada sit one, two and three respectively as the states with the highest foreclosure activity in the country.
"Now that the foreclosure deluge has dried up, banks are turning their attention back to properties that have been sitting in foreclosure limbo for some time," said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac vice president, in a press release. "This is most evident in judicial foreclosure states that were more likely to have impediments in the foreclosure process.
"Banks will also now be able to devote more resources to dealing with the lingering inventory of nearly half a million already-foreclosed homes that still need to be sold," Blomquist added.