More than a quarter-million pre-foreclosures and notices of pending foreclosure auctions were filed nationwide in the first quarter of the year, according to data released today by ForeclosureS.com, a real estate advisory service. 253,803 notices of foreclosure were filed in the first quarter of 2007, up 22.5 percent from the 207,128 filings in the fourth quarter of 2006. As large as those numbers are, they don't include tens of thousands more now-vacant properties that actually were lost to foreclosure during that same period. Those REO, or bank-owned real estate filings, totaled 110,791 in the first quarter alone -- one of the largest influxes of REO recorded in a single quarter in recent history. â€œThe numbers cast a dark cloud over the American Dream of homeownership,â€? says Alexis McGee, president of ForeclosureS.com. â€œUnfortunately for those overextended homeowners it's a cloud that isn't likely to lift any time soon either, especially in light of the recent troubles in the sub-prime lending market,â€? McGee added. â€œHomeowners who can't afford their monthly payments, rather than simply refinance their way out of trouble as many have grown accustomed to, will now have to sell their homes quickly, or risk losing their home to foreclosure," McGee said. "That means in the coming months we can expect to see many more pre-foreclosure filings, more auctions, and more REOs." REOs Increase 50 Percent Nationwide, auction filings alone for the first quarter were up almost 50 percent from the previous quarter--102,930 vs. 69,802 for fourth-quarter 2006. Pre-foreclosure numbers climbed, tooâ€”168,837 in first-quarter 2007 vs. 138,799 in fourth-quarter 2006. Total March foreclosure filings in all three categoriesâ€”pre-foreclosures, auctions, REOSâ€”also were up substantially over February numbers--70,350 pre-foreclosure filings in March, up 39 percent over the 50,496 in February; 45,512 auction filings, up 52 percent over the 29,867 in February, and 45,561 REOs in March, up 50 percent over the 30,337 in February. California led the nation in pre-foreclosure filings (49,016 year to date) and auctions (25,023 year to date); both numbers are up substantially from the same time last year, 139% and 277% respectively. Texas had the most REO or bank-owned real estate filings with 14,101 year to date, up from 11,226 a year ago. On a per capita basis, Ohio led in REO filings with 2.5 per 1,000 households (11,027 filings year to date) with Tennessee a close secondâ€”2.2 per 1,000 (5,022 filings). Colorado led in pre-foreclosure filings with 5.9 per 1,000 households (9,711 filings) with Florida a very close second with 5.8 foreclosures per 1,000 households (36,598 filings). Regional outlook The nation's Southwest region continues to lead the nation in pre-foreclosure and auction filings, according to Foreclosures.com. In the first three months of 2007, 130,392 homeowners faced the prospect of losing their properties to foreclosure. A total 44,163 properties ended up as REO or bank-owned properties, too, according to new numbers and analysis from ForeclosureS.com's expanded database that includes more than 2 million property listings. Adding to the dismal statistics, the region includes 17 of the Top 20 counties in the nation in numbers of notice of auction filings and 14 of the Top 20 counties in numbers of pre-foreclosure filings. Foreclosures hit home hard in the Midwest region during the first quarter of 2007. A total 31,641 pre-foreclosures and notice of auction were filed in the first three months of the year. A total 36,021 properties also ended up as REOâ€”reverted back to the lenders, according to new, in-depth analysis of statistics from ForeclosureS.com. Reeling from the effects of the region's economic woes, Michigan ranked No. 3 nationally with 11,401 REO filings, and Ohio at No. 4 with 11,027 filings. But those first-quarter numbers for Michigan represent a 14 percent drop from the fourth quarter 2006, and for Ohio, an 8 percent decline. â€œDespite the drop, both states likely will feel housing economics fallout from major auto industry and manufacturing cuts for a long time to come,â€? says McGee. For more information, visit http://www.foreclosures.com.