Blomquist: u201cMany of these bank-owned homes are bottom-of-the-barrel properties in terms of location or condition.u201d<@SM>Florida has the highest percentage of housing units with foreclosure activity.<@SM>Iowa had the biggest REO increase from a year ago.<@SM>REO activity has taken a slightly bumpy road down since its peak in early 2010. ***Charts courtesy of RealtyTrac.


IRVINE, CA—The number of US homes repossessed by banks rose 4% in April from a year ago, despite the fact that total US foreclosure activity decreased 1% from the previous month and 20% from April 2013. According to a report from RealtyTrac, bank REOs were reported on 115,830 properties nationwide last month, and one in every 1,137 housing units had a foreclosure filing during April.

Bank repossessions increased from the previous month in 26 states and were up from a year ago in 16 states including New York, Oregon, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Connecticut, California and Nevada.

As worrisome as these statistics may sound, they may indicate a step in the right direction for housing recovery. According to Daren Blomquist, VP of RealtyTrac, “The rise in bank repossessions in many states is a sign that those markets are working through the final remnants of foreclosures left over from the recent housing crisis. Many of these bank-owned homes are bottom-of-the-barrel properties in terms of location or condition, but they will provide some much-wanted inventory of homes for sale in some markets in the coming months. Investors and other buyers willing to do more extensive rehab will likely be best-suited for these incoming REOs.”

As reported earlier this week, tapping self-directed IRAs and appealing to friends and family are two ways that smaller all-cash buyers are making residential purchases, Blomquist told us. As fewer institutional buyers are making residential purchases, smaller all-cash investors are moving in.