The nation's robosigning debacle and the overhang of foreclosed properties on the market caused foreclosure activity to drop significantly during the first-half of the year, according to new figures compiled by RealtyTrac.

The analytics firm said Thursday that during the first six months of 2011 foreclosure activity fell in 84% of the most populated cities across the nation – but not for the right reasons.

“These dramatic decreases indicate the foreclosure pipeline continues to be clogged in many local markets across the country, sometimes by a glut of already-foreclosed properties that are not selling quickly, sometimes by a mountain of improperly filed foreclosures that are blocking the inflow of new foreclosure filings — and sometimes by both,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer.”

For metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with populations of at least 200,000, 178 out of 211 cities experienced fewer foreclosure filings (default notice, auction sale notice and bank repossession) during the period. (The comparison is to the same period in 2010.)

Saccacio noted that the 20 metro areas that had the largest year-over-year decreases in foreclosure activity were in states that adhered to ‘judicial’ foreclosures, including New York, Maryland, Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois.

MSAs in California, Arizona and Nevada accounted for the entire top 10 metropolitan foreclosure rates and 15 of the top 20 cities on the list. Every city in the top 10 had fewer foreclosures during 1H 2011 than in the year ago period.  

The only Florida city to be in the top 20 this year was Fort Myers, which ranked 12th. Last year the Sunshine State had nine MSAs on the list.

Las Vegas continued to lead the nation in foreclosures with one in every 19 homes receiving a foreclosure filing during the first six months of 2011. The city’s rate is six-times the national average.

Overall, 43,944 Vegas properties went through the foreclosure process during the first-half, a decrease of 18%.

Nationwide, Phoenix posted the second highest foreclosure rate, followed by Modesto and Stockton, Calif.

Subscribe Now

Access to a full range of industry content, analysis and expert commentary.

30-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Access coverage of the securitization marketplace, including breaking news updated throughout the day.