Does ‘Dramatic’ Jump in Foreclosure Starts Spell Trouble?

The housing market just recorded the largest month-over-month increase in foreclosure starts since August 2011. Find out which states are struggling.

Does ‘Dramatic’ Jump in Foreclosure Starts Spell Trouble? Photo (cc) by danxoneil

Foreclosure starts experienced a “dramatic” jump last month, with 34 states recording increases, according to RealtyTrac.

The housing data provider’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for October 2015 shows that 48,605 properties started the foreclosure process for the first time last month.

That represents a 12 percent increase in foreclosure starts from September, the largest month-over-month increase since August 2011.

The 12 percent monthly jump in foreclosure starts was also the primary cause for a 6 percent monthly increase in overall foreclosure filings — which includes default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — last month, according to RealtyTrac.

Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, explains:

“We’ve seen a seasonal increase in foreclosure starts in October for the past five consecutive years, so it’s not too surprising to see the monthly increase this October.

“However, the 12 percent increase this October is more than double the average 5 percent monthly increase in the past five Octobers, and the even more dramatic monthly increases in some states is certainly a concern.”

Blomquist states that in some cases, the increase in foreclosure starts could indicate “fissures in economic fundamentals driving more distress.” In other cases, the rise more likely indicates “long-term delinquencies finally entering the foreclosure pipeline.”

Maryland’s foreclosure rate jumped to No. 1 in October thanks to a surge in foreclosure starts. The top 10 states for foreclosure rates were:

  1. Maryland
  2. New Jersey
  3. Florida
  4. Nevada
  5. Illinois
  6. South Carolina
  7. North Carolina
  8. Ohio
  9. New Mexico
  10. Washington

Among metropolitan areas with a population of at least 200,000, Atlantic City, New Jersey, came in No. 1 in foreclosure rates for the fourth consecutive month.

Despite the month-over-month increase in foreclosure starts as well as overall foreclosure activity, these rates decreased year over year.

Foreclosure starts in October were down 14 percent from October 2014 and overall foreclosure activity was down 6 percent from one year ago.

What’s your take on the “dramatic” monthly increase in foreclosure starts? Let us know below or on Facebook.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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