Foreclosure activity picks up in third quarter

A new report finds that lenders nationwide appear to be slowly speeding up their foreclosure processes once again.

Foreclosure filings nationwide increased slightly from the second to the third quarter of this year following three straight periods of declining activity, according to the real estate firm RealtyTrac.

"This marginal increase in overall foreclosure activity was fueled by a 14 percent jump in new default notices, indicating that lenders are cautiously throwing more wood into the foreclosure fireplace after spending months trying to clear the chimney of sloppily filed foreclosures," said James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

In the month of September, the report found there were nearly 215,000 foreclosure filings, affecting roughly one in every 605 properties. For those foreclosures completed during the quarter, the process took an average of 336 days.

Foreclosures can have a significant impact on a consumer's credit score. The law says that a foreclosure can stay on a credit report for up to seven years, although borrowers who keep up on their other debts can see their score start to improve again in just two.