The foreclosure tide is still rising. RealtyTrac reported Thursday that foreclosure filings were brought against nearly one million properties during the first three months of 2010. That’s a seven percent increase from the previous quarter, 16 percent higher than a year ago, and equates to one in every 138 homes in the United States.

Altogether, foreclosure filings – including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions – were reported on 932,234 properties from January to March of 2010. According to RealtyTrac, the number of scheduled auctions and bank repossessions hit new quarterly records. 

All foreclosure types spiked in March. Filings were reported on 367,056 properties last month, an increase of nearly 19 percent from the previous month and the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005.

“Foreclosure activity in the first quarter of 2010 followed a very similar pattern to what we saw in the first quarter of 2009: a shallow trough in January and February followed by a substantial spike in March,” explained James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac’s CEO.

 “One difference, however, is that the increases were more tilted toward the final stage of foreclosure,” with REOs increasing in the first quarter of this year, compared to a decrease during the same period last year, he said.


“This subtle shift in the numbers pushed REOs to the highest quarterly total we’ve ever seen in our report and may be further evidence that lenders are starting to make a dent in the backlog of distressed inventory that has built up over the last year as foreclosure prevention programs and processing delays slowed down the normal foreclosure time line," Saccacio said.


During the first three months of this year, RealtyTrac’s data shows there were 257,944 properties repossessed by the lender – an increase of 9 percent from the previous quarter and an increase of 35 percent compared to the first quarter of 2009. 

As it has for the past 13 quarters, Nevada continued to document the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate in the first quarter of 2010. One in every 33 Nevada homes received a foreclosure filing during the three-month period, more than four times the national average and an increase of nearly 15 percent from the previous quarter. Still, Nevada’s total of 34,557 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in the first quarter was down 16 percent from the first quarter of 2009.

Arizona’s foreclosure activity increased on both a quarterly and annual basis, helping the state to post the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate for the third consecutive quarter. One in every 49 Arizona properties received a foreclosure filing during the quarter – nearly three times the national average.

With one in every 57 Florida properties in some stage of foreclosure, the state posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate for the second straight quarter. Florida’s Q1 foreclosure activity also increased on both a quarterly and annual basis.

California foreclosure activity decreased 6 percent from the first quarter of 2009, but the state still documented the nation’s fourth highest foreclosure rate, with one in every 62 homes receiving a filing.Utah’s foreclosure activity increased 75 percent from the first quarter of 2009, the highest annual rise among top-10 states, giving it the nation’s fifth highest foreclosure rate.

Foreclosure filings were reported on 10,756 Utah properties, a rate of one in every 88 housing units and an increase of 21 percent from the previous quarter.

Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among RealtyTrac’s top 10 in the first quarter of 2010 were Michigan, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, and Colorado.

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