The number of U.S. homes in the foreclosure process rose slightly in September, according to housing data company RealtyTrac, but on a quarterly basis total foreclosures fell to the lowest level in more than six years.
In September 131,232 properties nationwide were reported to have a foreclosure filing , including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, a two percent increase from August but down 27 percent from one year ago. Foreclosures have now fallen on a yearly basis for 36 straight months.
Things looked even better on a quarterly level. With 376,931 foreclosure filings in the third quarter and a foreclosure rate of one out of every 348 housing units, filings were down seven percent from the second quarter and down 29 percent from the previous year. Foreclosures are now at the lowest level since the second quarter of 2007.
Florida, Nevada and Maryland had the highest rates of foreclosure by state in the third quarter. The rest of the top ten was made up of Illinois, Ohio, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Indiana and South Carolina.
“The September and third quarter foreclosure numbers show a housing market that is haltingly returning to health,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac in a statement. “In a healthy housing market foreclosures are rare but streamlined while still protecting the rights of the homeowner. While foreclosures are clearly becoming fewer and farther between in most markets, the increasing time it takes to foreclose is holding back a more robust and sustainable recovery.”