This post by Jill Schlesinger originally appeared on CBS' MoneyWatch.com.
Hot off the presses from RealtyTrac, the foreclosure report for April is in and the best that can be said is that it's a little less rotten. Foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, were reported on 333,837 properties in April, a 9% decrease from March and a 2% decrease from April 2009.
One in every 387 US housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month. Yes, that's staggering, but it should be noted that April was the first month where there was an annual decrease in US foreclosure activity since the crisis began. Don't get too excited about the market getting away from you-it's still estimated that it will take 103 months to clear the overhang of housing inventory!
The epicenter of the housing crisis continues to be found in Nevada, Arizona and Florida. Nevada posted the nation's highest state foreclosure rate for the 40th straight month, and its rate is more than five times the national average. There was a little shake up in the race to the bottom-after Nevada, Arizona was next, then Florida and California, which saw a 25% decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous month. Amazingly, just 5 states account for more than 50% of the national total.
For clues as to where this story is going, one need only to remember that 11.2 million properties still have negative equity-check out the chart above from Calculated Risk (Hooray for Oklahoma, O-K!)
Maybe home ownership is overrated after all!
Jill Schlesinger is the Editor-at-Large for CBS MoneyWatch.com. Prior to the launch of MoneyWatch, she was the Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. In her infancy, she was an options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York.