The number of U.S. properties involved in foreclosure rose from July to August, but were substantially lower than August 2011, an online real estate firm said.
RealtyTrac said 193,508 U.S. properties in August were either sent default notices, scheduled for auction or taken over by a bank, an increase of 1 percent from July, but down 15 percent from August 2011.
The numbers mean that one in every 681 U.S. housing units were involved in some stage of foreclosure during the month.
States that require foreclosures be handled by the courts are now seeing numbers of foreclosures rise as the legal system in various states catches up with backlogs, the company said.
"Bucking the national trend, deferred foreclosure activity boiled over in several states in August," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac in a statement.
The two states with the highest percentage of properties involved in foreclosure are now Illinois -- one in every 298 housing units -- and Florida, where one in every 328 housing units was affected by foreclosure in August.
This is a new pattern. From December 2010 through this July, the top two states on the list were either Arizona, California, Georgia or Nevada -- four states that do not require foreclosures to be handled by the judicial system. In fact, from January 2005, when RealtyTrac began tracking the data until last month, Illinois had never before topped the national list.
"Meanwhile foreclosure activity in most non-judicial states stayed on a downward trajectory in August, with a few exceptions," Blomquist continued.
One exception was Washington state, where foreclosure activity rose 38 percent on an annual basis in August after 16 consecutive months of year-over year declines.
The shift in the state was caused by a state law that took effect in July 2011 that allowed homeowners facing foreclosure to request mediation.
By comparison, foreclosure activity increased on a year-over-year basis in August in Illinois for the eighth consecutive month.
The state had 17,781 properties involved in foreclosure in the month, a 42 percent increase from August 2011.