Foreclosures Rise in First Half of 2012
Regionally, foreclosure increases hit some states particularly hard (as follows):
All told, 31 states posted foreclosure gains in the 2nd quarter of 2012, with 311,000 properties entering the foreclosure process during the quarter. RealtyTrac says that's a 9% hike from the 1st quarter of 2012, and a 6% from the 2nd quarter of 2011 -- the first upward spike in foreclosures on a year-to-year basis since 2009.
On a monthly basis, June saw an 18% increase in California-based foreclosures, the highest rate in the U.S., RealtyTrac reports. That was the first month the Golden State led the nation in foreclosures since 2005.
By most measures, especially long-term ones, foreclosures seem to be stabilizing. But the RealtyTrac numbers are a fresh reminder that the housing market isn't out of the woods yet.
"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," explained Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac, in a release.
"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.
The increases in foreclosure starts in the first half of the year will likely translate into more short sales and bank repossessions in the second half of the year and into next year, RealtyTrac concludes.
An optimist might say that one out of two stats being positive in housing isn't bad -- it's certainly a better picture for housing now than in 2008 or 2010, for example.
"It doesn't amount to a whole lot yet, but it's getting better," Buffett told CNBC on Thursday.
But keep an eye on those foreclosures. A steady rise in those will surely crimp home prices, at least in the short term.