After peaking in July, foreclosure activity decreased last month in Arizona, while the number of properties receiving foreclosure notices remained more than twice the national average.
Arizona had the fourth-highest foreclosure rate in the country, with one in every 150 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, according to the latest market report from RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties.
Foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 17,807 properties statewide, down 9.58 percent from July but up 24.24 percent from August 2008.
In July, one in every 135 housing units received a foreclosure filing, totaling 19,694.
A 10 percent month-to-month decrease in foreclosure activity helped lower Arizona’s national rank, from third in July to fourth last month. Nevada led the nation last month with one in every 62 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, followed by Florida, with one in every 140 housing units, and California, with one in every 144 housing units.
“The July number for Arizona was the highest monthly number we’ve ever seen for the state, so it hit that peak … and then pulled back a little bit,” said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac spokesman. “It’s still at a very high level, and I would say it’s too early to say if there’s really been much of a change in the trend in terms of slowing.”
There may be some evidence surfacing that federal loan modification and refinancing efforts are starting to help, Blomquist said.
“In Arizona, there’s a lot more properties entering the foreclosure process, but there’s fewer properties than a year ago that are actually completing the foreclosure process,” he said. “If you look at (properties that were repossessed by lenders), not only did they decrease from July, but they’re also down from August 2008.”
Nationally, one in every 357 housing units received a foreclosure filing last month. Foreclosure filings were reported on 358,471 properties during the month, down less than 1 percent from July but up nearly 18 percent from August 2008.
Many properties are just entering the foreclosure process, and there remains an abundance of distressed properties, so “that’s going to mean that the numbers aren’t going to just make a sharp turn down anytime soon,” Blomquist said.