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RealtyTrac: Foreclosure Activity Falls to Lowest Level Since 2007

Despite a monthly uptick in foreclosure starts, first quarter foreclosure activity fell to a six-year low, according to ""RealtyTrac's"":http://www.realtytrac.com foreclosure market ""report"":http://www.realtytrac.com/Content/foreclosure-market-report/march-and-first-quarter-2013-foreclosure-market-report-7683 for the first quarter and March.

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Data from RealtyTrac showed 442,117 properties received some type of foreclosure filing--default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions-in Q1. The figure represents the lowest level since Q2 2007 and a quarterly and yearly decrease of 12 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, foreclosure starts, which numbered 73,113 in March, moved higher for the second straight month and posted a 2 percent increase from February. Foreclosure starts, however, were down 28 percent from a year ago.

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At the same time, RealtyTrac found bank repossessions (REOs) slumped to the lowest level since September 2007. In March, banks repossessed 43,597 properties, down 3 percent from February and down 21 percent from a year ago.

Even though foreclosure starts were down year-over-year, 12 states still experienced annual increases. States with the biggest annual increases were New York (+200 percent), Maryland (+194 percent), Washington (+154 percent), Arkansas (+101 percent), and Nevada (+88 percent).

Certain states also saw a surge in REO activity, including Arkansas (+121 percent) Maryland (+114 percent), Washington (+88 percent), Pennsylvania (+41 percent), and Ohio (+39 percent).

""Although the overall national foreclosure trend continues to head lower, late-blooming foreclosures are bolting higher in some local markets where aggressive foreclosure prevention efforts in previous years are wearing off,"" explained Daren Blomquist, VP at RealtyTrac.

Florida continued to take the spotlight for its high levels of foreclosure activity. The state recorded the highest number of foreclosure filings--85,671--in Q1 and posted the highest foreclosure rate. In addition, out of the 10 metros with the highest foreclosure rate, seven were in Florida.

The Florida cities were Miami (No. 1), Orlando (No. 2), Ocala (No. 3), Tampa (No. 5), Jacksonville (No. 7), Palm Bay (No. 8), and Lakeland (No. 10).

About Author: Esther Cho

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