(MCT) — Foreclosure activity fell 3 percent on a nationwide level last year from 2011 but higher foreclosures in half of the states showed the uneven pace of the housing recovery.
On a national level, foreclosure notices were filed against 1.84 million properties last year, a sizable decline from 2010, the peak year, when foreclosures affected 2.9 million properties, according to a year-end RealtyTrac report issued Thursday.
Of the 25 states where foreclosure activity rose in 2012, 20 of them are judicial states, where foreclosures are handled by local court systems. Illinois is among those states, and in 2012, foreclosure activity in the state rose 33 percent from 2011.
The highest state foreclosure rate last year was in Florida, where 3.11 percent of properties received a foreclosure filing. Other states in the top five were Nevada, Arizona, Georgia and Illinois, where 2.58 percent of homes received a filing, said RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for distressed properties.
In Cook County, the state's most populous county, 70,233 properties received a foreclosure filing in 2012. Totals for other Chicago-area counties included DuPage, 10,443; Kane, 8,564; Kendall, 2,306; Lake, 10,555; McHenry, 5,419; and Will, 9,591.
At the end of the year, there were 135,858 properties in Illinois that were either in some stage of the foreclosure process or already bank-owned. In Illinois, it takes an average 697 days for a property to complete the foreclosure process.
"Although we are comfortably past the peak of the foreclosure problem nationally, 2013 is likely to be book-ended by two discrete jumps in foreclosure activity," said Daren Blomquist, a RealtyTrac vice president, in a release.
"We expect to seek continued increases in judicial foreclosure states near the beginning of the year as lenders finish catching up with the backlogs in those states, and another set of increases in some non-judicial states near the end of the year as lenders adjust to the new laws and process some deferred foreclosures in those states."
Foreclosure filings can include the initial notice of default, notice that a auction of the home has been scheduled and notice that the property has been repossessed by the lender.