(By Balachander) U.S. properties with foreclosure filings dropped 11 percent in the first six months of 2012, according to a new report from research firm RealtyTrac.
There were roughly 1.04 million U.S. properties foreclosed during the six-month period, up 2 percent from the previous six months, but lower than the same period of last year.
Around 0.8 percent of all U.S. housing units or one in 126 had at least one foreclosure filing in the first half of 2012, the report showed.
RealtyTrac chief executive Brandon Moore said additional scrutiny on how lenders and servicers process foreclosures, along with aggressive foreclosure prevention efforts by the federal government and several state governments, continue to keep a lid on the foreclosure problem at a national level.
"Still, foreclosure starts began boiling over in more markets in the first half of the year, particularly in the second quarter, when rising foreclosure starts spread from primarily judicial foreclosure states in the first quarter to more than half of all non-judicial foreclosure states in the second quarter," Moore added.
During the second quarter, overall foreclosure activity declined, mainly because of a drop in bank repossessions (REOs), RealtyTrac reported. That period also saw the first year-over-year rise in quarterly foreclosure starts since the fourth quarter of 2009.
RealtyTrac reported that 311,010 properties started the foreclosure process in the second quarter, up 6 percent from the prior year period and a 9 percent increase from the prior quarter.
Last month, RealtyTrac said overall foreclosure activity fell for the 21st straight month on a year-over-year basis though foreclosure starts rose annually for the second consecutive month.