After the recent multibillion-dollar settlement reached between the nation's largest mortgage lenders and a number of state attorneys general on behalf of homeowners wrongfully foreclosed upon in the wake of the housing market collapse, some industry experts were concerned that this outcome could cause an upswing in foreclosure activity. According to real estate data from RealtyTrac, this may be occurring.
A recent report from the company indicates foreclosure activity increased in the first quarter this year. During the three-month period, the foreclosure rate rose in 114 of the country's 212 metropolitan areas from the previous quarter.
"First quarter metro foreclosure trends were a mixed bag," said RealtyTrac chief executive officer Brandon Moore. "While the majority of metro areas continued to show foreclosure activity down from a year ago, more than half reported increasing foreclosure activity from the previous quarter - an early sign that long-dormant foreclosures are coming out of hibernation in many local markets."
Meanwhile, despite the quarter-over-quarter increase, the report noted that activity declined in 136 of the 212 metro areas from a year earlier.
On a local level, home repossessions in 33 of the 50 largest metro areas in the country edged lower. The most significant decline was recorded in Las Vegas - an area that experienced one of the largest waves of foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. It was found that activity in Las Vegas declined 61 percent from a year earlier. In addition, Austin, Salt Lake City and Buffalo were also recognized for their improvements.
In contrast, Orlando experienced the largest increase in foreclosures, according to the report. In this area, activity rose 52 percent from the first quarter in 2011, while Indianapolis, Miami, Philadelphia and Hartford, Connecticut, also saw a notable rise in their foreclosure rates.
The housing market with the highest uptick in foreclosure activity was found to be Riverside-San Bernardino, located in Southern California. In this area, nearly one in every 62 homes was in a stage of the foreclosure process during the first quarter.
As the housing market enters its peak buying season, a number of consumers may want to consider capitalizing on current conditions making the purchase of a home very affordable. The bargain prices of foreclosed houses often add even more affordability to the making the transition to homeownership.