nvestors desperate for foreclosures to buy got a break in May as banks cracked down on overdue defaulters, increasing starts and repossessing homes occupied by defaulters.
The monthly increase in overall foreclosure activity was caused largely by an 11 percent month-over-month increase in bank repossessions (REOs), although REO activity was still down 29 percent from a year ago.
REO activity increased from the previous month in 33 states — including North Carolina (up 60 percent), Oregon (up 57 percent), Wisconsin (up 44 percent), Illinois (up 44 percent), Colorado (up 23 percent), and Michigan (up 19 percent). REO activity increased 9 percent from the previous month in non-judicial states and was up 13 percent from the previous month in judicial states.
Among the five lenders involved in last year’s national mortgage settlement, all but one (Citi) posted monthly increases in REO activity, indicating that temporary stoppages of foreclosure sales announced during the month by some of the lenders involved in the settlement had little lasting impact on the number of completed foreclosures for the month.
U.S. foreclosure starts increased 4 percent from the previous month but were still down 33 percent from a year ago. Foreclosure starts increased from the previous month in 26 states and were up from a year ago in 14 states, including Maryland (up 229 percent), Connecticut (up 122 percent), Hawaii (up 108 percent), Arkansas (up 84 percent), New Jersey (up 82 percent), Nevada (up 81 percent), Washington (up 53 percent), Pennsylvania (up 26 percent) and New York (up 13 percent).