Foreclosure research firm RealtyTrac reported that foreclosures increased 3 percent in October from September to 186,455 U.S. properties as states with longer legal processes finally see their foreclosures close.
One in every 706 U.S. housing units had a foreclosure filing in October, which is still above levels for a healthy housing market, but still 19 percent down from October 2011.
"Nationally, the trend appears to be downward, but what stood out to me are the sharp increases in foreclosure activity in many of the judicial foreclosure states where the foreclosure process is much more lengthy," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.
The three states with the biggest annual increases in foreclosure activity in October happened to be those most affected by superstorm Sandy, which Blomquist called a coincidence. They were New Jersey (140 percent), New York (123 percent) and Connecticut (41 percent).
The foreclosure moratoriums in effect as a result of Sandy will likely extend the already-lengthy time to foreclose in these states, further delaying a sound housing recovery, he said.
Another source of worry was an increase in foreclosure activity in metropolitan areas that had previously been on a downward trend. Those include Las Vegas (up 45 percent) and Modesto, Calif. (up 68 percent).
"It's a little bit early because it's a one-month trend, but those types of big increases are a little concerning," Blomquist said. "We're definitely not out of the woods yet. There are still batches of foreclosures that those markets have to absorb."
Florida had the country's highest foreclosure rate for the second month in a row, as one in every 312 housing units with a foreclosure filing in October, followed by Nevada, Illinois, California and Arizona.