Hawaii’s 1,617 foreclosure filings last month were enough to rank the state as the ninth-highest in the nation, a dubious honor and its worst ranking yet.
Last month’s count represented a nearly 67 percent increase in foreclosures from 969 in the same month last year, according to data from real estate research firm RealtyTrac.
Hawaii’s rate in September amounted to one foreclosure filing for every 317 households.
Nationally, the rate of foreclosures last month was one filing per 371 households, which was almost unchanged from the same month last year when the rate was one filing per 372 households.
By comparison, Hawaii’s foreclosure rate in September 2009 was one filing per 523 households, which represented the 15th worst rate nationally.
Many other states suffered sharper and swifter real estate market corrections compared to Hawaii, resulting in more recent improvements for other markets.
Nationally, the number of foreclosure filings in September was up just 1 percent from a year earlier, as declines in 22 states nearly offset gains in 28 states, the RealtyTrac report said.
For much of 2008, Hawaii’s foreclosure rate was among the 10 best. Last year, the state’s ranking generally worsened, and in the last 12 months ranked 10th worst twice — in December and August. The total number of foreclosures in August was 1,629, a record for the state.
Holding a tight grip on the worst ranking for nearly four years is Nevada, which had one foreclosure filing for every 69 households in September.
The best rate was one filing per 10,780 households in Vermont.
Some local foreclosure attorneys have questioned the accuracy of RealtyTrac reports in part because the data includes commercial property and excludes foreclosures in some rural parts of the country.
California-based RealtyTrac said it collects data from more than 2,200 counties nationwide, representing about 90 percent of the U.S. population.
In Hawaii, much of the foreclosure trouble has occurred on the neighbor islands, where investors rushed to buy vacation property during the real estate frenzy.
Most of the foreclosure filings counted by RealtyTrac still involve property owners struggling to keep their homes. Of the 1,617 Hawaii filings last month, 80 were default notices and 1,046 were sale notices. Another 491 were repossessions by lenders.
By county, Maui had the worst foreclosure rate in September, at one filing per 191 households, or 347 filings in all.
The Hawaii island had the next worst rate at one filing per 194 households, based on 411 total filings.
Kauai’s rate was one filing per 246 households, based on 121 filings.
Honolulu had the most filings with 738, but it had the lowest rate, at one filing for every 457 households.
Out of the house
Kailua-Kona had the most foreclosure filings in September, according to RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure marketplace. Below are the state’s foreclosure hot spots for last month:
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By the numbers
Hawaii’s monthly foreclosures over the past year, including the year-over-year percentage gain: