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U.S. foreclosures dip in May

Foreclosures in May rated a 2 percent decrease over April figures, according to data from RealtyTrac released Thursday.

The monthly report by the online realty marketing group stated there were 214,927 foreclosure filings last month in the U.S. – a slight decrease from April and a 33 percent decrease over May 2010 figures.

In total, one in every 605 U.S. housing properties received a foreclosure filing during May 2011, RealtyTrac reported, while also pointing out the weak demand for buying residential units continues from wary and unemployed consumers.

Maryland foreclosures in May totaled 1,799, or one in every 1,301 households. Those figures represent a nearly 20 percent increase over April 2011 figures from RealtyTrac.

The high rates continue to cloud the residential real estate market, experts say, as some lenders are beginning to push bad loans through foreclosure proceedings after controversy over shoddy paperwork and documentation procedures have stalled such moves for nearly a year.

“Foreclosure processing delays continue to mask the true face of the foreclosure situation, although there were some clues in the May numbers of what lies behind that mask,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said in a statement.

“First, activity spiked in May for various stages of the foreclosure process in some states, a pattern that has occurred in several states over the past few months. This pattern provides evidence that lenders are somewhat unevenly pushing batches of bad loans through foreclosure as they overhaul their paperwork and documentation procedures and as they determine that some local markets are able to absorb more foreclosure inventory.

Second, while the inventory of properties in the foreclosure process has declined steadily over the past six months — thanks in large part to 16 consecutive months of year-over-year declines in new default notices — the inventory of unsold bank-owned REOs increased in April and May even as new REO activity slowed in both of those months.”

Foreclosure data is compiled by tracking default notices, bank repossessions and scheduled auctions.

There were 89,251 scheduled auctions in the U.S. in May, a 3 percent increase over April 2011. Auctions were prevalent in California, Texas, Virginia and Michigan.

Nevada, Arizona and California posted the top foreclosure rates in the U.S.