GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Real estate foreclosure filings are continuing to rise, and one city in North Carolina has among the highest rates in the country.

A reported to be released Friday by ATTOM, which describes itself as a leading collector of data associated with real estate sales, finds that there were 31,557 foreclosure actions in the January 2023, which is 2% more than in December but a whopping 36% more than January 2022.

And among the 223 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, Fayetteville had the highest rate in the country, with one foreclosure action per 1,322 housing units. Bakersfield, California, was next with a rate of 1-in-1,522, and Cleveland reported 1-in-1,55. Detroit (1 in 1,575) and Laredo, Texas (1 in 1,953) rounded out the top five.

The data describe foreclosure filings as including default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions. ATTOM says that it collects data from more than 3,000 counties that comprise more 99% of the U.S. population.

The more positive news is that there were 3,896 repossessions through completed foreclosures last month, which was 6% more than December but 19% less than last year, marking the first annual decrease since June 2021, ATTOM said in a release.

“The uptick in overall foreclosure filings nationwide points toward a trend that may suggest more increased activity is on the horizon as we enter the new year,” ATTOM CEO Rob Barber said in the report. “While both completed foreclosures and foreclosure starts have stalled slightly over the past month, the annual increase in overall activity seen over the past 21 months may indicate a more substantial trend that could continue into 2023.”

Despite the heavy foreclosure rate in Fayetteville, North Carolina does not show up among states where rates were best or worst during the past year for both foreclosures and repossessions.

States with the highest foreclosure rates were Delaware (1 in every 2,109 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Illinois (1-in-2,279), Michigan (1-in-2,617, New Jersey (1-in-2,858) and Maryland (1-in-2,967).

In repossessions, Florida had the greatest annual decrease (53%), which was more than twice the next best rates – Maryland, 23%, and Michigan, 22% – and more than triple New Jersey (down 15%) and Texas (14%).

Only three states with at least 100 repossessions saw an annual increase, led by New York’s whopping 76% bump. Pennsylvania (12%) and California (4%) were the other two.

New York City, with 149 repossessions, ranked only third among metropolitan statistical areas with a population greater than 200,000. Detroit (783) and Chicago (206) had more. Philadelphia (100) and Riverside, California, (66) were next.

An added wrinkle to the report is that lenders initiated the foreclosure process on 20,752 properties in January, which was 1% less than in December but 75% higher than a year ago.

But nearly half those starts were distributed among five states: California (2,513 foreclosure starts), Texas (2,136), Florida (1,725), New York (1,375) and Illinois (1,309) foreclosure starts).

They also were most prominent in the major cities in those states: New York (1,370 foreclosure starts), Chicago (1,156), Los Angeles (774), Houston (629) and Philadelphia (612).

One caveat from ATTOM about the timing is a disclosure that “some foreclosure filings entered into the database during the quarter may have been recorded in the previous quarter.”