Foreclosure filing activity decreased over the past three months by 15% from the last quarter in 2010 and 27% lower than the first quarter of last year, according to the latest RealtyTrac foreclosure market report.

There were 681,153 reported foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—in the first quarter. The report said that one in every 191 housing units in the nation was given a foreclosure filing in the past three months.

A total of 197,112 properties received default notices for the first time in the first quarter, a 17% decrease from the previous quarter and 35% lower from last year.

James Saccaccio, CEO of RealtyTrac, said the figures are deceiving and he believes they are not going to remain like this in upcoming months.

“The nation’s housing market continued to languish in the first quarter, even as foreclosure activity fell to a three-year low,” saidSaccacio. “Weak demand, declining home prices and the lack of credit availability are weighing heavily on the market, which is still facing the dual threat of a looming shadow inventory of distressed properties and the probability that foreclosure activity will begin to increase again as lenders and servicers gradually work their way through the backlog of thousands of foreclosures that have been delayed due to improperly processed paperwork.”

In March, there were 239,795 foreclosed filings, a 7% increase from February, but down 35% from the highest monthly total for foreclosures at 367,056.

Nevada led the nation in foreclosure rate in the first quarter with more than 32,000 properties filing a foreclosure. Due to bank repossessions increasing by 26% from February with a little less than 19,000 REOs, Arizona was the second leading state in foreclosure rate. California was third on the list where one in every 80 housing units (168,543 properties) filed for foreclosure, accounting for nearly 25% of all foreclosure activity throughout the country. 

The Irvine, Calif.-based online marketplace for foreclosure properties said a main reason why foreclosure activity was low is due to processing delays in states that have a judicial process.

Despite being one of the top 10 states in foreclosure rates, Florida foreclosure activity decreased 47% from the previous quarter and was down 62% from the first quarter of 2010. Massachusetts also saw its foreclosure activity fall by 46%, as well as New Jersey had 43% fewer foreclosures and Connecticut had a 39% decrease in foreclosures from the previous quarter.

According to RealtyTrac, non-judicial foreclosure states accounted for 19 of top 20 metro foreclosure rates. Las Vegas led the nation where one in every 31 properties accounted for the 26,275 filed foreclosures. California cities represented 11 of the top 20 metropolitan foreclosure rates, led by Modesto ranking second and Stockton was the third highest city.

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