So much for a decline in foreclosure activity in Hawaii.
After three months of what looked like subsiding levels of property foreclosure filings statewide, volume in August soared to a new high.
A report from real estate research firm RealtyTrac Inc. said there were 1,629 Hawaii foreclosure filings last month, which eclipsed the prior record of 1,534 in December and was almost twice as many as the 869 filings in August 2009.
The surge last month followed a 6 percent decline in July filings over the same month a year earlier. The July dip represented the first year-over-year decrease for any month since May 2007, before financial and real estate markets came unglued.
Year-over-year increases in May and June also were relatively small.
But local foreclosure attorneys suspected in recent months that the slack was perhaps due to lender processing issues, and wasn’t a sign that fewer Hawaii homeowners were defaulting on their mortgages or losing their homes.
August’s record appears to bear that out.
The number of foreclosure filings last month equated to one filing per 315 households.
Compared with other states, Hawaii’s rate was 10th highest, which is the worst position Hawaii has occupied since RealtyTrac began its reports in 2005. Hawaii had the 10th-highest rate in December, as well.
Nevada had the highest rate at one filing per 84 households. Vermont had the lowest rate at one filing per 18,389 households.
Nationally, there was one foreclosure filing for every 381 households. There were 338,836 filings nationally in August, which was down 5.5 percent from the same month last year.
RealtyTrac noted that nearly a third of the filings, or 95,364, in August were lender repossessions. That was a record, and suggests that troubled properties are exiting foreclosure and alleviating a backlog. RealtyTrac said foreclosure starts nationally have been declining.
By county, Maui had the worst foreclosure rate, at one filing per 187 households, or 353 filings in all.
The Big Island had the next worst rate at one filing per 205 households, based on 389 total filings.
Kauai’s rate was one filing per 342 households, based on 87 filings.
Honolulu had the most filings with 800, but it had the lowest rate, at one filing for every 421 households.