By Lauren Ratcliffe
Published April 18, 2012
National foreclosure activity during the first quarter of 2012 was the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2007 according to the latest data released by RealtyTrac, a national foreclosure research firm.
Nationally, 572,928 properties are in some form of foreclosure, down 16% from the first quarter of last year.
In March alone, 198,853 homes had foreclosure filings reported — one in every 662 homes.
South Carolina is facing slightly higher rates of foreclosure, with one in 207 homes under foreclosure for the first quarter of the year.
Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac, said the low numbers aren’t indicative of a lessened foreclosure market but rather a dam holding back a flood of foreclosure and short-sale activity to come.
“There are hairline cracks in the dam, evident in the sizable foreclosure activity increases in judicial foreclosure states over the past several months, along with an increase in foreclosure starts in many judicial and non-judicial states in March,” he said. “The dam may not burst in the next 30 to 45 days, but it will eventually burst, and everyone downstream should be prepared for that to happen — both in terms of new foreclosure activity and new short sale activity.”
National decreases in activity are attributed to states that use a non-judicial foreclosure process. Those 24 states saw a 28% decrease in foreclosure activity during the first quarter from 2011.
States which use the judicial foreclosure process saw foreclosure activity increase 10% over 2011.
South Carolina, which uses the judicial foreclosure process saw activity rise 26% over the first quarter of 2011.
Through the end of March, Charleston and Richland counties had the highest number of homes in foreclosure. Dorchester County had the highest rate of foreclosure, with one in 117 homes in some form of distress.
First Quarter 2012