More than 3.2 million foreclosure filings were reported in 2008, according to RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosed properties.
Last year's filings, which include default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions, were up 81% compared with 2007 and up 225% compared with 2006, according to the 2008 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. The report also indicates that 1.84% of all U.S. housing units (one in 54) received at least one foreclosure filing during the year, up from 1.03% in 2007.
Foreclosure filings were reported on 303,410 properties in December, up 17% from the previous month, and up nearly 41% from a year ago. Despite the spike in December, foreclosure activity for the fourth quarter was down nearly 4% from the previous quarter but still up nearly 40% from the fourth quarter of 2007.
"State legislation that slowed down the onset of new foreclosure activity clearly had an effect on fourth quarter numbers overall, but that effect appears to have worn off by December," James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac's CEO, said in the report.
"The big jump in December foreclosure activity was somewhat surprising given the moratoria enacted by both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, along with programs from some of the major lenders and loan servicers aimed at delaying foreclosure actions against distressed homeowners," Saccacio said.
"Clearly the foreclosure prevention programs implemented to-date have not had any real success in slowing down this foreclosure tsunami. And the recent California law, much like its predecessors in Massachusetts and Maryland, appears to have done little more than delay the inevitable foreclosure proceedings for thousands of homeowners," he said.
More than 7% of Nevada housing units, or one in 14, received at least one foreclosure notice in 2008, giving it the nation's highest state foreclosure rate for the year. A total of 77,693 Nevada properties received a foreclosure filing during the year, an increase of nearly 126% from 2007 and an increase of nearly 530% from 2006, the report states.
Florida registered the nation's second highest state foreclosure rate in 2008, with 4.52% of its housing units receiving at least one foreclosure filing during the year, and Arizona registered the nation's third highest state foreclosure rate, with 4.49% of its housing units receiving at least one foreclosure filing during the year. States rounding out the top 10 in foreclosure rates were California, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Illinois and New Jersey.
A total of 523,624 California properties received a foreclosure filing in 2008, the nation's highest state total. Foreclosure activity in the state increased nearly 110% from 2007 and nearly 498% from 2006.
With 385,309 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in 2008, Florida documented the second highest state total. Florida foreclosure activity increased 133% from 2007 and nearly 412% from 2006.
Arizona's 2008 total of 116,911 properties receiving a foreclosure filing was third highest among the states. Foreclosure activity in Arizona increased 203% from 2007 and 655% from 2006.
With 9.46% of its housing units, or one in 11, receiving a foreclosure filing during the year, Stockton, Calif., registered the highest foreclosure rate among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas in 2008.
Las Vegas documented the second highest metro foreclosure rate in 2008, with 8.89% of its housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the year. More than 6% of Phoenix housing units received a foreclosure filing during the year.
The foreclosure rate in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ranked No. 6, with 5.95% of the metro area's housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in 2008. Other Florida cities in the top 10 were Orlando at No. 7 (5.48%) and Miami at No. 8 (5.21%).
With 4.52% of its housing units, or one in 22, receiving a foreclosure filing during the year, Detroit registered the tenth highest metro foreclosure rate in 2008, according to the report.