The number of McHenry County homes entering the foreclosure process or being repossessed by lenders fell from a year ago.
According to foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc., there were 40 foreclosure completions in May, down from 149 foreclosure completions in May 2012.
A total of 174 McHenry County homes entered the foreclosure process in May, compared to 273 in May 2012.
The numbers were slightly higher than April, when there were 164 foreclosure starts and 31 foreclosure completions in McHenry County.
In Lake County, 306 homes entered foreclosure in May compared to 538 in May 2012. There were 306 foreclosure completions, compared to 538 a year ago.
In Kane County, ther were 193 foreclosure starts, compared to 384 a year ago, and 96 completed foreclosures, compared to 184 in 2012.
Statewide, foreclosure starts fell from 8,401 in May 2012 to 4,021 last month, while completed foreclosures dropped from 3,603 to 1,701. Illinois May foreclosure starts dropped from the previous month, 4,243 to 4.021, while completed foreclosures were up from 1,183 in April to 1,701 in May.
Completed foreclosures jumped 11 percent nationally in May from the previous month, with monthly increases taking place in 33 states.
Home repossessions, however, were down 29 percent from May last year, reflecting the long-term downward trend.
Banks also started the foreclosure process on more homes last month. Foreclosure starts rose 4 percent from April, but were down 33 percent versus May last year, the firm said.
The increases come as the U.S. housing market continues to gain strength, propelled in part by growing demand for homes at a time when there’s a thin supply of available homes for sale in many markets.
That dynamic has helped push home prices higher. They climbed nationally on an annual basis by 12.1 percent in April, the biggest gain since February 2006, according to data provider CoreLogic.
The combination of a tight inventory of homes for sale and rising prices makes for an opportune market for banks.
“Home prices are rising and demand is stronger, so they can recoup more of their losses when selling a bank-owned home, and in most cases should be able to sell relatively quickly,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac.
The prospect of more bank-owned homes hitting the market also is good news for homebuyers struggling with the short supply of available homes. But not so great for homeowners, Blomquist said.
“For homeowners who are current or own their homes outright, this could slow down the recent rapid rise in home price appreciation, which could mean the value of their home does not go up as quickly in the short term,” he said.
As of the end of March, 19.8 percent of all U.S. homes with a mortgage were underwater, according to data provider CoreLogic.
Rising home prices have helped drive that number down from 21.7 percent at the end of last year, and returned roughly 850,000 homes to a state of positive equity in the first three months of this year.
All told, 38,946 homes were taken back by lenders last month. Repossessions increased on a monthly basis in 33 states, including North Carolina, Oregon and Wisconsin.
At the current pace, the nation is on track to finish the year with about a half million completed foreclosures, down from 670,000 last year, Blomquist said.
Foreclosure starts totaled 72,698 homes. They increased on a monthly basis in 26 states and rose on an annual basis in 14 states, including Maryland, Connecticut, Hawaii and Arkansas.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report