While foreclosure activity across the nation for the month of March reached its lowest level since July 2007, the Capital Region saw a quarterly increase in activity.
It’s a regional trend that could be tied to New York having the longest foreclosure timeline in the nation. The average time it takes to foreclose on a property in the state is 1,056 days, compared to the overall national average of 370 days, according to the latest U.S. Foreclosure Market Report from RealtyTrac, a California-based firm that tracks foreclosures nationwide.
Across the U.S., foreclosure filings were reported on 198,853 properties. That’s a 4-percent drop from the month prior and a 17-percent drop from the same time last year.
By the numbers
Foreclosure activity for the month of March in the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley, from highest to lowest rate of filings:
Montgomery County: 19 properties, 1 in every 1,214 houses, a 216.67 percent increase from February 2012 and 850 percent increase from March 2011
Albany County: 58 properties, 1 in every 2,375 houses, a 34.1 percent drop from February 2012 and 62.34 percent drop from March 2011
Saratoga County: 24 properties, 1 in every 4,111 houses, a 40 percent drop from February 2012 and 300 percent increase from March 2011
Schenectady County: 15 properties, 1 in every 4,546 houses, a 7.14 percent increase from February 2012 and 87.5 percent increase from March 2011
Fulton County: 4 properties, 1 in every 7,141 houses, a 60 percent drop from February 2012 and 100 percent increase from March 2011
Schoharie County: 1 property, no change from March 2011.
Quarterly data paint a similar picture: Foreclosure activity was down 2 percent from the previous quarter and 16 percent from the first three months of 2011. In total, default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions were reported on 572,928 homes in the first quarter of 2012.
“The low foreclosure numbers in the first quarter are not an indication that the massive reservoir of distressed properties built up over the past few years has somehow miraculously evaporated,” said RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore in a news release issued Thursday.
He said there are “hairline cracks in the dam,” pointing to the sizeable increases in foreclosure activity in states like New York that practice judicial foreclosures.
In March, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan area saw a modest drop of less than 1 percent in foreclosures from the month before, and a more significant drop of 21.3 percent from the same time one year earlier.
But the one-month snapshot is less telling than quarterly data, which show an 88-percent increase from the previous quarter and a 23-percent increase from the same time one year earlier. The metropolitan region had foreclosure filings on 318 homes in the first quarter of 2012, or one in every 1,237 houses.
Extending the look at foreclosure activity to include the Mohawk Valley, Montgomery County had the highest rate of foreclosures, with 1 in every 887 houses, or 26 properties, in some stage of the foreclosure process during the first three months of the year.
In fact, every county in the region except Schoharie saw an increase in filings from the fourth quarter of 2011. And every county except Albany saw an increase in filings from the first quarter of 2011.
“The dam may not burst in the next 30 to 45 days, but it will eventually burst,” Moore warned in the release. “And everyone downstream should be prepared for that to happen — both in terms of new foreclosure activity and new short sale activity.”
Albany County technically had the most properties in the Capital Region with foreclosure filings, at 154, a rate of one in every 894 houses. This was a 75-percent increase from the end of last year, but a nearly 25-percent drop from the same time last year.
Saratoga County saw a three-fold increase in foreclosure filings during the first quarter of 2012 compared to the first quarter of 2011. Sixty-nine homes were in some stage of the foreclosure process, a rate of one in every 1,430 houses.
Schenectady County had 37 properties in a stage of foreclosure during the first quarter, or one in every 1,843 houses. Fulton County reported foreclosure filings on 15 houses, or one in every 1,904 houses. Schoharie County reported filings on only two houses, or one in every 8,616 houses.