Foreclosure activity declined in July on both a month-over-month and annual basis, indicating that borrowers could be finding relief through expanded government initiatives, and mortgage rates hovering near all-time lows.
There were 191,925 properties in some stage of the foreclosure process nationwide last month, according to a report from RealtyTrac. This was a 3 percent decrease from the June and a 10 percent decline from July 2011.
"U.S. foreclosure activity continued its uneven descent in July as the overall numbers declined on an annual basis for the 22nd straight month, but properties starting the foreclosure process increased on an annual basis for the third straight month," said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist.
While overall activity declined, foreclosure starts actually increased in 27 states. Nationwide, 98,174 homes entered the home repossession process, which was slightly fewer than the previous month, but a 6 percent increase from a year earlier.
States paint a different picture
Certain states still struggled to get foreclosure rates under control, the report said. Specifically, Arizona, California and Florida continued to have some of the highest home repossessions rates in the country.
Despite an 11 percent decrease from the previous month, California still reported the most activity. During the month, an estimated one in every 325 homes in the state were in some stage of the process, which was more than twice the national average.
Property records indicate that activity in Arizona also improved significantly, but still had the second-highest rate in the country, with roughly one in every 346 units in foreclosure. In addition, Florida rose from the sixth spot on the list in June to third in July, with a total of 25,534 properties receiving foreclosure filings.
Rift between judicial, non-judicial states
Foreclosure activity surged in 16 of the states that practice judicial repossessions, the report said. This means the process is carried out in the states' court systems, rather than directly between borrowers and lenders. At the same time, activity increased in 11 states that practice non-judicial home repossession proceedings.
Meanwhile, non-judicial states recorded the largest individual year-over-year increases, Most notably, New Hampshire experienced the biggest annual gain after a 55 percent spike in activity.