10 Cities Report Sharp Foreclosure Increases

While foreclosure activity is on the decline in the majority of the country some cities reported recent sharp increases - one city reported an annual increase of 381%.

For 36 consecutive months there has been an annual decrease in U.S. foreclosure activity, but not all cities are doing better.

“The September and third quarter foreclosure numbers show a housing market that is haltingly returning to health,” Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said in a statement.

According to RealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, there was an overall 2% increase of foreclosures in September over the previous month, but a 27% decrease from a year ago. State by state the housing recovery varies widely. While Colorado’s and California’s foreclosure starts were down 71% and 59%, respectively, foreclosure starts were up 259% in Maryland and 252% in Oregon.

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“The sharp jumps in foreclosure activity in some local markets may come as a surprise to some,” Blomquist said. “These spikes in activity demonstrate that while millions of distressed homeowners have been pulled back from the precipice by foreclosure prevention programs over the past several years, once those programs expire or are exhausted, a percentage of these troubled homeowners are still susceptible to falling into foreclosure.”

Here are the 10 cities where foreclosure activity increased the most from a year ago.

10. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Increase from a year ago: 12%

Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 760 housing units

Average median sales price: $245,000

State’s vacant homes: 10.29%

In general, foreclosures are up all over Virginia—the state’s quarterly increase in bank repossessions is up 36%. However, the good thing for Virginia is that its average time to foreclose (189 days) is one of the shortest in the country, according to RealtyTrac.

9. Providence, Rhode Island

Increase from a year ago: 18%

Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 822 housing units

Average median sales price: $155,000

State’s vacant homes: 10.95%

Waterplace Park in downtown Providence.

Not only are foreclosures on the rise, but based on Rhode Island’s taxes, it’s not a great place to retire in — it taxes a portion of Social Security benefits; its sales tax ties for the second highest in the country; and its real estate taxes are the fifth highest in the country.

8. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Increase from a year ago: 22%

Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 1,251

Average median sales price: $145,000

State’s vacant homes: 10.78%

Copyright SeanPavonePhoto

The overall foreclosure activity in Pennsylvania is up 34%, making it one of just 16 states that reported an increase in September. The good news, though, is that for a big city, Pittsburgh’s cost of living average mirrors the national average.

7. New York, New York

Increase from a year ago: 25%

Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 20,112 housing units

Average median sales price: $1 million

State’s vacant homes: 10.5%

Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Photo by Matthew Jeseule.

The average time to foreclose in New York is the longest in the country at 1,037 days, although neighboring New Jersey isn’t far behind at 1,014 days. Overall, the state’s foreclosure starts were up 25% from a year ago — one of just 11 states that reported an increase in starts.

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Increase from a year ago: 32%

Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 723 housing units

Average median sales price: $155,000

State’s vacant homes: 10.78%

Rittenhouse Square. Photo by Jeffrey M. Vinocur

The City of Brotherly Love isn’t an easy place for taxes. According to a report from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia, the tax burden for families earning $150,000 is 13.3% of income.

5. Washington, D.C.

Increase from a year ago: 52%

Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 42,026 housing units

Average median sales price:

State’s vacant homes: 12.33%

Row houses in Logan Circle.

The fact that foreclosures up are so much in the District of Columbia is even more disheartening when you realize that D.C. has the lowest overall homeownership rate at just 45%. And yet, the median sales price increased by 8%, according to Zillow’s May 2013 data.

4. Hartford, Connecticut

Increase from a year ago: 74%

Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 408

Average median sales price: $118,000

State’s vacant homes: 7.89%

Connecticut’s overall foreclosure activity isn’t much better than Hartford’s — the state reported a 69% increase from a year ago. It probably didn’t help that the state’s property tax is the second worst in the country.

3. Raleigh, North Carolina

Increase from a year ago: 97%

Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 1,449

Average median sales price: $210,000

State’s vacant homes: 14.27%

North Hills

The tax climate in North Carolina is changing, according to The Tax Foundation, which could ease the burden on residents and reverse the foreclosure rate when they find some extra cash in their pockets.

2. Las Vegas, Nevada

Increase from a year ago: 109%

Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 214

Average median sales price: $164,000

State’s vacant homes: 14.11%

While Las Vegas continues to struggle with foreclosures, the situation is very different in Northern Nevada, according to one broker. In Reno, Nev., foreclosures have declined to the point that the foreclosure level is nearing the national average.

1. Baltimore, Maryland

Increase from a year ago: 381%

Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 350

Average median sales price: $192,387

State’s vacant homes: 9.93%

Federal Hill

Maryland’s third quarter foreclosure rate is the third highest among the states, increasing 180% year over year. Despite the huge increase, the state’s foreclosure rate is still behind Florida’s one in every 126 housing units (more than twice the national average) and Nevada’s one in every 128 housing units.