While foreclosure activity is slowing down in much of the U.S., it continues to rise in Washington state.
The number of foreclosure filings in Washington jumped 70 percent between the second and third quarters of 2012, according to the latest data from RealtyTrac, an online database for foreclosure activity. State filings are also up 15 percent compared to a year earlier.
Whatcom County received 145 filing notices in the third quarter of 2012, about the same as the second quarter (143 filings) and the previous year (155 filings). However, nearly 75 percent of the latest foreclosure filings were notice of trustee sale documents, typically the first stage of the foreclosure process. A year earlier nearly 50 percent of the Whatcom filings were bank repossession notices, typically the final stage of the process.
Across the U.S., quarterly foreclosure activity was at its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2007. The latest numbers marked the ninth consecutive quarter with an annual decrease in foreclosure activity, according to the report.
Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said the U.S. still has a backlog of distressed property to work through, but it's happening gradually in some states.
"Make no mistake, however, the other shoe is dropping quite loudly in certain states, primarily those where foreclosure activity was held back the most last year," Blomquist said in a news release accompanying the data.
Washington state appears to be adjusting after enacting a law in July 2011 that required lenders to offer mediation to homeowners facing foreclosure. Foreclosure filings slowed after the law went into effect, but now lenders are clearing the backlog, according to the report.
During the third quarter, Whatcom County received one filing for every 625 housing units, which is better than the foreclosure rates of Washington (one per 261 housing units) and the U.S. (one per 248). Washington state had the 13th highest rate during the third quarter; Florida topped the list, followed by Arizona and California.
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