11 States and the District of Columbia Reported Increases in Foreclosure Activity in 2014

Foreclosure ActivityOnly one out of every 118 homes in the U.S. were in a certain state of foreclosure in 2014, which had finally brought the national foreclosure rate below the 1 percent threshold for the first time in eight years. According to data from RealtyTrac, foreclosure rate was at 0.85 percent in 2014, down 17.94 percent from 2013’s figure and once again, finally below 1 percent. While activity was down in more than 75 percent of the United States, there were 11 states, plus the District of Columbia, that reported an increase in foreclosure activity.

Even with the increases reported in those areas, foreclosure rates were still low for the most part in comparison to the broader U.S. market. Furthermore, foreclosure hotbed Florida stood out for its 23.51 percent year-over-year decline in activity in 2014, a good figure even as it remained number one with one out of every 44 homes at some state of foreclosure. Conversely, North Dakota experienced a 72.73 percent year-over-year decline in activity, allowing it to have the lowest share of foreclosures, with just one out of every 10,649 units.

For the whole of the U.S., there were a total of 1.12 million foreclosure filings, or less than half of 2010’s peak figure of 2.87 million, but still substantially higher than 2006’s low of 717,522.

If a property is in a state of foreclosure, this does not mean that the home has automatically been repossessed by the bank. This could mean the owner had already been given a notice of default, or that the property had been scheduled for an auction. So with that in mind, it does appear that the housing market’s continued recovery is indeed moving forward, with these all-important foreclosure stats going down on a broader basis, and in most of the 50 states.

Still, there were some areas where foreclosure rates went up in 2014 on a year-over-year basis. Leading the way was New Jersey, which recorded a foreclosure rate of 1.87 percent, with a total 66,627 homes in foreclosure. Compared to 2013’s data, foreclosure activity in the “Garden State” was up by 70.82 percent. Due to a huge increase (501 percent year-over-year) in foreclosure starts, Mississippi finished second with an increase of 50.67 percent in total activity, up to a foreclosure rate of 0.18 percent.

As RealtyTrac does not include the District of Columbia in its foreclosure rate rankings, D.C. would have finished second in that category with a rate of 0.07 percent; the nation’s capital still experienced a third-place 41.06 percent increase in total activity, however.

With Alaska courts completing 28 percent more foreclosures in 2014 than in 2013, the foreclosure rate in the state moved up to 0.48 percent, good for fourth place after a change of 22.04 percent. Montana was in fifth place with a change of 14.22 percent year-over-year, but still enjoyed a relatively low foreclosure rate of 0.10 percent for just 490 properties in foreclosure. Other states that reported a year-over-year jump in activity included Maryland (6th), Massachusetts (7th), Oregon (8th), New York (9th), North Carolina (10th), Idaho (11th), and Wyoming (12th).