Last Updated Apr 26, 2011 4:58 PM EDT
The 2010 Year-End U.S. Foreclosure Market Report from RealtyTrac shows a 2 percent increase inforeclosure filings over 2009, and an increase of 23 percent over 2008.
One in 45 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing - defined as a default notice, scheduled auction, or bank repossession - in 2010.
The top ten states for foreclosures in 2010 were:
Foreclosure filings in December were down nearly 2 percent from the previous month and down 26 percent from December 2009 -- giving December the lowest monthly total since June 2008.
"Total properties receiving foreclosure filings would have easily exceeded 3 million in 2010 had it not been for the fourth quarter drop in foreclosure activity--triggered primarily by the continuing controversy surrounding foreclosure documentation and procedures that prompted many major lenders to temporarily halt some foreclosure proceedings," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.
According to RealtyTrac executives, there would have easily been another 250,000 foreclosures in November and December without lenders slowing things down.
"Even so, 2010 foreclosure activity still hit a record high for our report, and many of the foreclosure proceedings that were stopped in late 2010--which we estimate may be as high as a quarter million--will likely be re-started and add to the numbers in early 2011."
Saccacio said 1 million homes were foreclosed on in 2010, and he expect the foreclosure numbers to be even worse in 2011, in part due to to delays in foreclosure filings and lender confusion over the documentation needed to initiate and complete foreclosures.
As we start this year, look out for an spike in initial foreclosure filings, as lenders try to catch up on the foreclosure filing backlog. But with today's unemployment report spiking north again, it's clear that foreclosures will be trending up as well.
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Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and The Equifax Personal Finance Blog, and is Chief Content Strategist at RealtyJoin.com, a community for real estate investors.