Foreclosure filings jumped 14% in December from November, after four straight months of declines, according to data to be released today by RealtyTrac.
Default notices, scheduled foreclosure auctions or bank repossessions were reported on 349,519 properties nationwide last month, a 15% increase from a year earlier.
For the year, foreclosure filings were reported on more than 2.8 million properties, a 21% increase from 2008 and a 120% increase from 2007, RealtyTrac said.
One in every 45 homes in the U.S. received at least one foreclosure notice last year, RealtyTrac said.
James J. Saccacio, the chief executive of the Irvine, Calif., company, said in a press release that the 2009 numbers would have been worse if there hadn't been legislative and industry-related delays in processing delinquent loans.
The substantial increase in foreclosures in December helped drive the number of 2009 filings to a record high, Saccacio said.
Foreclosures peaked in July, with more than 361,000 homes receiving a foreclosure notice. Saccacio said he expects foreclosures to remain high this year.
"In the long term a massive supply of delinquent loans continues to loom over the housing market, and many of those delinquencies will end up in the foreclosure process in 2010 and beyond as lenders gradually work their way through the backlog," he said.
Nevada had the nation's highest foreclosure rate for the third consecutive year, with more than 10% of Silver State housing units receiving at least one foreclosure notice in 2009.
Arizona had the second-highest rate, after foreclosures there spiked 40% in December, and Florida had the third-highest rate.