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Foreclosures Up 48 Percent From Year Ago: RealtyTrac

Foreclosure filings continued their surge in May, jumping 48 percent from levels recorded one year earlier as the number of distressed borrowers continues to mushroom in key housing markets across the nation. RealtyTrac Inc. reported Friday morning that 261,255 properties were subject some sort of foreclosure activity -- default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- during the month, up 7 percent from April. That number translated into foreclosure filings for one in every 483 U.S. households, the highest such rate of foreclosures since RealtyTrac began normalizing against population in January 2005. "May was the third straight month where we’ve seen a month-to-month increase in foreclosure activity and the 29th straight month we’ve seen a year-over-year increase," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. "The nationwide rate of increase for default notices and foreclosure auction notices slowed in May, with default notices up just 1 percent from the previous month and auction notices down 3 percent from the previous month." While notices of default and trustee's sale notices inched upward, the total number of REO properties in RealtyTrac's property database surged above 700,000 as repossession activity doubled year-ago activity. California, Florida lead the way Foreclosure filings were reported on 71,930 California properties, 37,364 Florida properties and 12,959 Arizona properties during May, RealtyTrac said -- the three highest state totals in May. Michigan was not far behind Arizona, however, with 12,792 properties receiving foreclosure filings during the month. Illustrating just how bad the housing market is in the two former "bubble" states, for the second month in a row, California and Florida cities accounted for nine out of the top 10 metropolitan foreclosure rates among the 230 metropolitan areas tracked in the RealtyTrac report. Seven California cities were in the top ten, led by Stockton in the top spot. One in every 75 Stockton area households received a foreclosure filing in May — more than six times the national average. Other California cities in the top 10 were Merced, Modesto, Riverside-San Bernardino, Vallejo-Fairfield, Bakersfield, and Sacramento. The Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area in Florida registered the second-highest metro foreclosure rate in May, with one in every 79 households receiving a foreclosure filing during the month; the other Florida metro area in the top 10 was Port Lucie-Fort Pierce, ranking tenth. Las Vegas was the only city outside of California and Florida with a foreclosure rate ranking among the top ten, RealtyTrac said. One in every 96 Las Vegas households received a foreclosure filing in May, more than five times the national average and sixth among the metro areas. Other metro areas with foreclosure rates among the top 20 included Phoenix (20), Detroit (14), San Diego (17) and Miami (19). For more information, visit http://www.realtytrac.com.

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