U.S. foreclosure activity fell on an annual basis for the 40th consecutive month in January, online market monitor RealtyTrac said Thursday.
Foreclosure activity rose 8 percent from December to January, but dropped compared to January 2013.
On an annual basis, data was uneven with some states catching up on previously derailed foreclosures and some states seeing an increase in January.
The category, including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, rose to 124,419 in January, down 18 percent from 12 months prior.One in every 1,058 U.S. properties were involved in a foreclosure in January.
The month-to-month gain was "somewhat expected after a holiday lull, but the sharp annual increases in some states shows that many states are not completely out of the woods when it comes to cleaning up the wreckage of the housing bust," said vice president of RealtyTrac Daren Blomquist in a statement.
States with judicial reviews required for foreclosures are still working through the backlog created with lenders were sued for depriving homeowners of due process by using so-called foreclosure mills that handled the mountain of paperwork quickly and, it turns out, illegally.
In response, lenders suspended processing foreclosures in states were a foreclosure must go through the courts for approval.
The impact of that is still being felt. "The foreclosure rebound pattern is not only showing up in judicial states like New Jersey, where foreclosure activity reached a 40-month high in January, but also some non-judicial states, like California, where foreclosure starts jumped 57 percent from a year ago, following 17 consecutive months of annual decreases," Blomquist said.
The monthly survey found 57,259 foreclosure starts in January, up 10 percent from December, but down 13 percent from January 2013.
Foreclosure starts rose in 22 states in January, including sharp increases in Maryland, Connecticut and New Jersey, where starts rose 126 percent, 82 percent and 79 percent, respectively.
Sharp increases were also posted by California (57 percent) and Pennsylvania (39 percent).
Other stages of foreclosure are going through the same delayed spikes. In Oregon, foreclosure auctions rose 326 percent in January. In Connecticut and Maryland, auctions were up 223 percent and 113 percent, respectively.
Although auctions are trending lower on a national level, they rose in 27 states in January, RealtyTrac said.