A foreclosed home is shown in Chicago
A foreclosed home is shown in Chicago Reuters

After repossessing more than a record 1 million homes in the U.S., banks are now poised to foreclosure on even more properties in 2011, according to Realty Trac Inc.

Some 5 million borrowers are at least two months behind on their mortgages and more will probably miss payments as the unemployment crisis persists.

2011 is going to be the peak, said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at RealtyTrac.

A record high 2.9-million homes (or about one in 45 U.S. households) received a foreclosure filing in 2010, up 1.67 percent from 2009.

Interestingly, RealtyTrac noted that in December 2010, 257,747 U.S. homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice, the lowest monthly total in 30 months. This was most likely due to banks reviewing their foreclosure practices in the wake of allegations surfacing last autumn that some evictions were done improperly.

Total properties receiving foreclosure filings would have easily exceeded 3 million in 2010, had it not been for the fourth-quarter drop in foreclosure activity -- triggered primarily by the continuing controversy surrounding foreclosure documentation and procedures that prompted many major lenders to temporarily halt some foreclosure proceedings, said RealtyTrac chief executive James J. Saccacio.

Now, however, foreclosure activity will likely accelerate again as banks have resumed evictions. States to be worst hit are likely those that initially enjoyed the housing boom – namely, Nevada, California, Arizona and Florida and California, as well as Rust Belt states that are burdened by extremely high unemployment.

Indeed, California, Florida, Arizona, Illinois and Michigan accounted for more than 50 percent of the nation’s foreclosure activity.