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RealtyTrac Reports 10% Drop in Foreclosure Activity

The relentless wave of foreclosures that has steadily swelled and battered the housing industry for a good three years seems to have retreated in January, but it's not enough to mean the storm has passed â€" ""RealtyTrac"":http://www.realtytrac.com says a resurgence is likely.

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The company's ""January 2010 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report"":http://www.realtytrac.com/contentmanagement/pressrelease.aspx?channelid=9&itemid=8533 released Thursday shows that foreclosure filings - including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions - were reported on 315,716 U.S. properties during the month â€" or one in every 409 housing units. That figure represents a decrease of nearly 10 percent from the previous month but is still 15 percent above the level reported in January 2009. Last month's decline follows a 14 percent month-to-month increase in filings recorded in December 2009.

""January foreclosure numbers are exhibiting a pattern very similar to a year ago: a double-digit percentage jump in December foreclosure activity followed by a 10 percent drop in January,"" said James J. Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac. ""If history repeats itself we will see a surge in the numbers over the next few months as lenders foreclose on delinquent loans where neither the existing loan modification programs or the new short sale and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure alternatives works.""

According to RealtyTrac's market analysis, REO activity nationwide was down 5 percent in January compared to

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the previous month but still up 31 percent from January 2009. Default notices were down 12 percent from December but up 4 percent from year-ago levels, and scheduled foreclosure auctions were down 11 percent for the month but increased 15 percent from January 2009.

The same usual suspects sat at the top of RealtyTrac's list of states with the highest foreclosure rates. Despite a year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity of nearly 18 percent, Nevada's foreclosure rate remained the highest for the 37th straight month. One in every 95 Nevada housing units received a foreclosure filing in January - more than four times the national average.

A 4 percent month-over-month increase in foreclosure activity boosted Arizona's foreclosure rate to second highest among the states in January. One in every 129 Arizona homes was in some stage of foreclosure during the month.

Foreclosure activity decreased by double-digit percentages from the previous month in both California and Florida, and the two states registered nearly identical foreclosure rates - one in every 187 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing. California's foreclosure rate was statistically higher by a slim margin and ranked third highest among the states while Florida came in at No. 4.

With one in every 231 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, Utah registered the nation's fifth highest state foreclosure rate, despite a nearly 12 percent month-over-month decrease in activity.

Other states rounding out the top 10 list were Idaho, Michigan, Illinois, Oregon, and Georgia.

In terms of the number of properties in foreclosure (as opposed to the rate), six states account for nearly 60 percent of the national total: California, Florida, Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas.

Phoenix was the only top 10 metro area to post a monthly increase in foreclosure filings, while Las Vegas documented the highest metro foreclosure rate with one in every 82 homes in some stage of foreclosure last month.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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