Foreclosures rose dramatically faster in the Seattle area than in the country as a whole in August, according to a new report.
King County foreclosure filings in August were up 32.2 percent from July and 34.2 percent from August 2011, the foreclosure data firm RealtyTrac reported. The nationwide total rose just 0.8 percent from July and fell 15.2 percent from a year earlier.
Statewide filings were up 22.7 percent from July and 38.1 percent from August 2011, after 16 straight months of year-to-year declines.
“The rebounding activity in Washington state is likely the result of lenders catching up with foreclosures delayed by a state law that took effect in July 2011 and allowed homeowners facing foreclosure to request mediation,” RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in the report. “This rebounding pattern will likely be repeated in the coming months in other states that have passed legislation delaying the foreclosure process.”
The number of homes for sale that are in or under threat of foreclosure has been down in recent months, helping drive up median sales prices, because such homes tend to sell at a discount. A foreclosure rebound could bring prices down, or at least moderate increases.
The jump also gave the Seattle area and Washington higher foreclosure rates than the country as a whole. One in every 680 homes in King County and 664 homes statewide got a foreclosure filing in August, compared with one in every 681 homes nationwide.
The Seattle area — including harder hit Pierce and Snohomish counties — had the 39th-highest rate, one in every 469 homes, among the nation’s 206 areas with at least 200,000 people. Washington’s rate was 11th-highest among states and Washington, D.C.
While filings were down nationwide from a year earlier, several states that handle foreclosures through the courts saw big increases. In fact, the “judicial” foreclosure states of Florida and Illinois jumped to the top among states and Washington, D.C., for foreclosure rates. Combinations of the non-judicial states of Arizona, California, Georgia and Nevada had held those top spots every month since December 2010.
RealtyTrac counts filings at several steps in the foreclosure process, meaning not every home that gets a filing goes through foreclosure. Homes that get more than one filing in a period are counted just once.