Mortgage foreclosures are way up in New Jersey and across the country, compared to a year ago.

This May, Jersey foreclosures increased 118 percent over the number in may of 2011, according to the scorekeeper, ‘RealtyTrac.’

That was the second-highest increase nationwide. ‘RealtyTrac’s’ Darren Blomquist says in New Jersey and many other states, the judicial process created a slowdown in the foreclosure procedure and a backlog.

Blomquist says, “it wasn’t so much that foreclosures had gone away, so much as they had been delayed. And so now we’re seeing that the storm clouds are coming back.” He noted that the major increases came from properties that are just starting the foreclosure process.

“Based on the rise in pre-foreclosure sales we’ve seen so far this year, a higher percentage of these new foreclosure starts will likely end up as short sales or auction sales to third parties rather than bank repossessions going forward,” Brandon Moore, RealtyTrac’s CEO, said in a statement. That’s important because bank-owned homes tend to sell for less than homes in earlier stages of foreclosure.

Overall, national foreclosure activity increased nine percent this May versus last.