Nov 15 (Reuters) - Foreclosure activity on U.S. homes rose in October compared to the previous month but continued to decline on an annual basis, highlighting the bumpy nature of the housing recovery, a report from RealtyTrac showed on Thursday.
The overall decrease put the combined number of reported default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions at 186,455. While that is 3 percent above the number in September it is still 19 percent lower than October 2011.
The increase comes after the level fell in September to the lowest total since July 2007.
"We continued to see vastly different foreclosure trends across the country in October, depending primarily on how each state's foreclosing infrastructure was able to handle the high volume of delinquent loans during the worst of the foreclosure crisis in 2010," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.
Florida ranked highest in the nation for the second month in a row in October. One in every 312 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing in October - more than twice the national average.
A total of 28,783 Florida properties had a foreclosure filing in October, up 2 percent from the previous month and a 12-month high, but the October 2012 total was still 13 percent below the October 2011 total.
Foreclosure activity increased month-on-month in over half of the 212 metro areas tracked in the report, and jumped significantly in some hard-hit metro areas.
Those included Modesto, California, where it rose 68 percent; Sarasota, Florida, up 53 percent; Las Vegas, Nevada, up 45 percent; and Columbus, Ohio where it rose 61 percent.
Blomquist said Superstorm Sandy that hit the U.S. Northeast in late October is leading to foreclosure moratoriums that would ultimately slow down the recovery process in the housing sectors of the states affected.
"Unfortunately the three states dealing with the biggest rebound in deferred foreclosure activity - New Jersey, New York and Connecticut - also had to deal with the devastation to homes inflicted by Superstorm Sandy," he said.
"The foreclosure moratoriums being put into effect as a result of the storm will likely extend the already-lengthy time to foreclose in these states, further prolonging a fundamentally sound housing recovery."