Foreclosures soared to 367,056 in March, up 19% from February and 8% higher than March 2009, according to foreclosure data specialist RealtyTrac. That's the highest level the firm has seen since it began issuing foreclosure reports in 2005. This is a jarring verdict for the U.S. housing market's supposed recovery. Until March, foreclosures had increased in only one of the prior seven months.
For a visual of how bad this month was compared to those for the past two years, check out the following chart:
RealtyTrac also documents state-by-state foreclosures. Here were the ten worst by foreclosures per housing unit:
As you can see, all but two in this list had more foreclosures in March than February. Some had drastically more, including Georgia up 46%, California up 36% and Nevada up 34%. Nevada continued to be the state with the most troubled housing market last month. In March, one in every 76 housing units in Nevada received a foreclosure filing. California also had a particularly poor month, with its rank rising from fourth worst in February to second worst last month. The top 10 states accounted for more than two-thirds of all foreclosures in March.
RealtyTrac's March report also includes some analysis on 2010's first-quarter. It isn't pretty. During the quarter 932,234 properties received foreclosure filings. That's a 7% increase from the fourth quarter of 2008 and 16% higher than the first quarter of 2009. One in every 138 U.S. housing units filed for foreclosure in the first quarter of this year.