Home > Mortgages > Foreclosures Hit an 18-Month High: Is Your State Struggling?

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More than 45,000 homes in the U.S. were repossessed last month, up 50% from April 2014, marking the completion of the foreclosure process for thousands of homeowners. The spike in banks taking possession of housing units drove the U.S. residential foreclosure rate to an 18-month high, with one in every 1,049 housing units in some state of foreclosure in April, according to the latest foreclosure market report for real estate data company RealtyTrac.

RealtyTrac defines a foreclosure filing as a default notice, scheduled auction or bank repossession on a housing unit, so any home with at least one of these filings is included in foreclosure rates. The national foreclosure rate is up 3% from March and 9% from last April, which RealtyTrac attributes to the increase in repossessions, but the spike in repossessions in April is still 56% below its peak during the housing crisis. Repossessions increased in 33 states last month.

The States Bank Repossessions Are Spiking

10. Pennsylvania
Number of homes repossessed by banks (REOs): 1,855
Increase from March 2015: 47.81%
Increase from April 2014: 100.54%

Like in many other states, the Pennsylvania housing market experienced a decline in foreclosure starts (when a foreclosure filing is first made) in April, but it didn’t even out the significant increase in bank repossessions. Overall, one in every 1,064 Pennsylvania housing units is in foreclosure, which is up about 22% from the same time last year. Pennsylvania had the 16th-highest foreclosure rate of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

9. Texas
Number of REOs: 1,854
Increase from March 2015: 6.25%
Increase from April 2014: 115.33%

Foreclosure starts increased slightly (about 2%) in Texas since last April, in addition to the REO increase, but the state maintains a pretty low foreclosure rate. One in every 1,952 housing units was in foreclosure in April, putting Texas at No. 34 on the ranking of state foreclosure rates.

8. Oregon
Number of REOs: 533
Increase from March 2015: 13.65%
Increase from April 2014: 119.34%

Oregon has a lower-than-average foreclosure rate but still comes in at 19th with one in every 1,228 homes in foreclosure — that’s a increase from last month and last year.

7. New York
Number of REOs: 1,120
Increase from March 2015: 13.48%
Increase from April 2014: 141.90%

In New York, one in every 1,436 housing units is in some state of foreclosure (ranked 22nd), and in April many more homes entered the foreclosure process than exited it. Foreclosure starts increased about 31% from April 2014 to 3,940, compared to the 1,120 REOs.

6. North Carolina
Number of REOs: 1,524
Increase from March 2015: 34.51%
Increase from April 2014: 176.59%

North Carolina is among a few states in which RealtyTrac has changed its data-collection process in the last several months, so the annual increase in repossessions may be lower than it seems, the report notes. Meanwhile, foreclosure starts are pretty consistent with where they were at this time last year. With one in every 1,182 units in foreclosure, North Carolina has the 18th-highest foreclosure rate in the country.

5. Michigan
Number of REOs: 2,906
Increase from March 2015: 82.31%
Increase from April 2014: 198.05%

Foreclosure starts are down nearly 10% from last year but Michigan still has a relatively high foreclosure rate, with one in every 994 units with a filing. It’s the 14th-highest foreclosure rate of any state.

4. Tennessee
Number of REOs: 1,315
Increase from March 2015: 37.41%
Increase from April 2014: 324.19%

Foreclosures are way up in Tennessee — at least, they’re higher than previously thought. RealtyTrac improved its data collection methods in Tennessee, which may have inflated the increase figures. With these adjustments, foreclosure starts increased 463% from April 2014, and the overall foreclosure rate increase 413% to one in every 647 units. Tennessee has the fifth-highest foreclosure rate.

3. Vermont
Number of REOs: 36
Increase from March 2015: 2.86%
Increase from April 2014: 350%

Repossessions may be up, but Vermont has an incredibly low foreclosure rate — in states with lower populations, a shift of just a few figures can result in huge percentage increases or decreases. One in every 6,590 housing units is in foreclosure, which is the sixth-lowest rate.

2. New Jersey
Number of REOs: 1,678
Increase from March 2015: 107.67%
Increase from April 2014: 375.35%

New Jersey has had a top-10 foreclosure rate for months, and April was no different. One in every 594 units is in foreclosure, and there were no data adjustments accompanying that 375% increase in repossessions. The state is working through a massive foreclosure inventory, as it has been for a long time since the mortgage crisis.

1. Montana
Number of REOs: 48
Increase from March 2015: 71.43%
Increase from April 2014: 500%

Despite its massive land area, Montana doesn’t have a huge population. There are only 64 homes in the state with a foreclosure filing, so the 500% increase in REOs doesn’t mean much. Montana has the fifth-lowest foreclosure rate: one in every 7,552 homes.

For homeowners, once the bank repossesses your home, the struggle that comes with foreclosure is in some ways only beginning. Losing your home can be just as (or more) damaging to your emotions as it is to your finances, but it won’t ruin your credit forever. With hard work and patience, working to rebuild your credit after such a massive setback, you may be able to own a home after you’ve gone through foreclosure. Try to focus on reducing your debts and making payments on time so you can help your credit score recover, and track your progress to make sure you’re on the right path. You can get a free credit report summary every 30 days on Credit.com to help you work toward your goals.

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  • Mike Craft

    What were the changes in Tennessee?

    • http://blog.credit.com/author/christine-digangi/ Christine DiGangi

      RealtyTrac didn’t specify beyond saying their data collection methods and sources were revised for improved accuracy. It’s something they’ve been doing in a many states this year, to try and get better figures.

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