Roughly 2.9 million properties in the United States received foreclosure filings in 2010, a record according to foreclosure industry source RealtyTrac. The year-end report revealed that California, Florida, Arizona, Illinois, and Michigan accounted for 51.3% of the total 2010 national foreclosures.

Foreclosure filings, which included default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossession, in 2010 totaled 3,825,637 on a record 2,871,891 U.S. properties. That marked a 1.67% increase from 2009 and 23.23% increase from 2008.

On a more optimistic note, RealtyTrac reported that foreclosure filings in the last quarter of 2010 fell 14% from the previous quarter and an 8% decrease from the fourth quarter of 2009.

Most Foreclosures in California, Florida, Arizona, Illinois, and Michigan

It should not come as a surprise that last year’s foreclosure data reinforces the notion that the housing market is still on a long road to recovery. The more shocking revelation is that five states would be responsible for more than half of the total national foreclosures in 2010. Disappointing foreclosure numbers were expected from California and Florida but states in the Midwest have begun showing signs of foreclosure troubles as well.

StateTotal Properties with Foreclosure FilingsChange from 2009Change from 2008
U.S.2,871,891+ 1.67%+ 23.23%
California546,669- 13.58%+ 4.40%
Florida485,286- 6.08%+ 25.95%
Arizona155,878- 4.49%+ 33.33%
Illinois151,304+ 15.38%+ 52.08%
Michigan135,874+ 14.85%+ 28.11%

Other states that rounded out the top ten states with the highest foreclosure filings include: Georgia (130,966), Texas (118,923), Ohio (108,160), Nevada (106,160), and New Jersey (64,808).

Foreclosure Freezes Helped the Numbers

In 2010, big banks and lenders were held in the spotlight for improper handling of foreclosure paperwork. Homeowners were losing their homes left and right until lenders halted foreclosure filings to investigate whether mortgage officers employed “robo-signing” to speed up the paperwork process.

“Total properties receiving foreclosure filings would have easily exceeded 3 million in 2010 had it not been for the fourth quarter drop in foreclosure activity – triggered primarily by the continuing surrounding foreclosure documentation and procedures that prompted many major lenders to temporarily halt some foreclosure proceedings,” said James J. Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac.

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