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Foreclosure activity down across the West Coast

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Foreclosures across the West fell in July from the prior month, according to ForeclosureRadar. The firm collects and analyzes foreclosure information from Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. In Arizona, notices of trustee sales fell 16.8% last month when compared to June, marking the fourth-consecutive monthly decline. Back-to-bank foreclosure sales also fell, dropping 6.4% from June. In California, notices of default filings dropped by 11.7% from June and 30.6% from a year ago, while notice of trustee sale filings were down 5.4% from June and 25.3% lower than July 2010. Nevada's notice of default filings fell 8.1% from June to July while notice of trustee sale filings fell 21% from June figures. Oregon's notice of default filings dropped below 1,000 filings for the first time since February of 2008. The number of properties sold back to the bank were down 34.7%, while properties sold to third-party investors fell 17.8% from June. In Washington, notice of trustee sale filings fell 16.8% between June and July, while foreclosures going back to the bank jumped 50.9% and foreclosures sold to third-party investors rose 43.6%. The data firm said investors are faster at reselling foreclosures when compared to banks. Those results vary by area, with Oregon banks taking an average 232 days to offload inventory — or 156 days longer than third parties, who take only 76 days. In Washington, however, it took banks only 52 days longer than third parties to resell foreclosed property. Banks dealing with California properties take about 104 days longer on average to resell real estate, while banks working on Arizona and Nevada houses take about 70 days longer to move inventory compared to third-party investors. "Our statistics clearly show that real estate investors continue to far outperform banks in dealing with distressed properties," said Sean O'Toole, CEO and Founder of ForeclosureRadar. He further warned that "politicians and bureaucrats are putting pressure on banks to become landlords, which will hurt local economic activity, as fewer properties are made available to local investors, also impacting their Realtors, contractors, and property managers; as well as to home buyers in need of affordable housing." Write to: Kerri Panchuk.

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