New foreclosure data show that lenders initiated foreclosure proceedings against more U.S. homeowners in May, setting the stage for increases in home repossessions and short sales.
Foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday that the number of homes receiving default or scheduled-home-auction notices rose 12 percent from April and increased 16 percent versus May last year.
The data reflects how banks and mortgage servicers have been stepping up efforts this year to address unpaid mortgages.
Some 33 states saw annual increases in homes entering the foreclosure process last month, with New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida posting the biggest gains.
Even so, home repossessions have been declining overall of late, with May being an exception.
The number of properties taken back by banks in May rose 7 percent from April.