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Foreclosure Activity Increases 81% in 2008

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RISMEDIA, January 15, 2009-RealtyTrac®, a leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today released its 2008 U.S. Foreclosure Market ReportTM, which shows a total of 3,157,806 foreclosure filings – default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions – were reported on 2,330,483 U.S. properties during the year, an 81% increase in total properties from 2007 and a 225% increase in total properties from 2006. The report also shows that 1.84% of all U.S. housing units (one in 54) received at least one foreclosure filing during the year, up from 1.03% in 2007.

Foreclosure filings were reported on 303,410 U.S. properties in December, up 17% from the previous month and up nearly 41% from December 2007. Despite the spike in December, foreclosure activity for the fourth quarter was down nearly 4% from the previous quarter but still up nearly 40% from the fourth quarter of 2007.

RealtyTrac publishes the largest and most comprehensive national database of foreclosure and bank-owned properties, with over 1.5 million properties from over 2,200 counties across the country, and is the foreclosure data provider to MSN Real Estate, Yahoo! Real Estate and The Wall Street Journal’s Real Estate Journal.

“State legislation that slowed down the onset of new foreclosure activity clearly had an effect on fourth quarter numbers overall, but that effect appears to have worn off by December,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “The big jump in December foreclosure activity was somewhat surprising given the moratoria enacted by both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, along with programs from some of the major lenders and loan servicers aimed at delaying foreclosure actions against distressed homeowners.

“Clearly the foreclosure prevention programs implemented to-date have not had any real success in slowing down this foreclosure tsunami. And the recent California law, much like its predecessors in Massachusetts and Maryland, appears to have done little more than delay the inevitable foreclosure proceedings for thousands of homeowners.”

The California law (SB1137), which required lenders to provide written notice of their intent to initiate foreclosure proceedings 30 days prior to issuing a notice of default (NOD), resulted in a reduction of NODs from 44,278 in August to 21,665 in September. Notice of Default filings then surged by 122%, to over 42,000, in December. Similar patterns have occurred in other states, such as Massachusetts and Maryland, where similar types of foreclosure prevention legislation has been enacted.

Nevada, Florida, Arizona post top state foreclosure rates in 2008

More than 7% of Nevada housing units (one in 14) received at least one foreclosure notice in 2008, giving it the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the year. A total of 77,693 Nevada properties received a foreclosure filing during the year, an increase of nearly 126% from 2007 and an increase of nearly 530% from 2006.

Florida registered the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate in 2008, with 4.52% of its housing units (one in 22) receiving at least one foreclosure filing during the year, and Arizona registered the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate, with 4.49% of its housing units (one in 22) receiving at least one foreclosure filing during the year.

Other states with Top 10 foreclosure rates for 2008 were California, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Illinois and New Jersey.

California, Florida, Arizona post highest 2008 foreclosure totals

A total of 523,624 California properties received a foreclosure filing in 2008, the nation’s highest state total. Foreclosure activity in the state increased nearly 110% from 2007 and nearly 498% from 2006.

With 385,309 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in 2008, Florida documented the second highest state total. Florida foreclosure activity increased 133% from 2007 and nearly 412% from 2006.

Arizona’s 2008 total of 116,911 properties receiving a foreclosure filing was third highest among the states. Foreclosure activity in Arizona increased 203% from 2007 and 655% from 2006.

Other states with Top 10 totals for 2008 were Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Nevada and New Jersey.

Sunbelt cities plus Detroit land on top 10 metro foreclosure rates list

With 9.46% of its housing units (one in 11) receiving a foreclosure filing during the year, Stockton, Calif., registered the highest foreclosure rate among the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas in 2008. Other California cities in the top 10 were Riverside-San Bernardino at No. 3 (8.02%, or one in 12 housing units); Bakersfield and No. 4 (6.17%, or one in 16 housing units); and Sacramento at No. 9 (5.20%, or one in 19 housing units).

Las Vegas documented the second highest metro foreclosure rate in 2008, with 8.89% of its housing units (one in 11) receiving a foreclosure filing during the year.

More than 6% of Phoenix housing units (one in 17) received a foreclosure filing during the year, giving the city the fifth highest metro foreclosure rate in 2008.

The foreclosure rate in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ranked No. 6, with 5.95% of the metro area’s housing units (one in 17) receiving a foreclosure filing in 2008. Other Florida cities in the top 10 were Orlando at No. 7 (5.48%, or one in 18 housing units) and Miami at No. 8 (5.21%, or one in 19 housing units).

With 4.52% of its housing units (one in 22) receiving a foreclosure filing during the year, Detroit registered the tenth highest metro foreclosure rate in 2008.

The RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report provides a count of the total number of properties with at least one foreclosure filing reported during the year at the state and national level. Data is also available at the individual county level. Data is collected from more than 2,200 counties nationwide, and those counties account for more than 90% of the U.S. population. RealtyTrac’s report incorporates documents filed in all three phases of foreclosure: Default – Notice of Default (NOD) and Lis Pendens (LIS); Auction – Notice of Trustee Sale and Notice of Foreclosure Sale (NTS and NFS); and Real Estate Owned, or REO properties (that have been foreclosed on and repurchased by a bank). If more than one foreclosure document is filed against a property during the year, only the most recent filing is counted in the report. The report also checks if the same type of document was filed against a property in a previous month or quarter. If so, and if that previous filing occurred within the estimated foreclosure timeframe for the state the property is in, the report does not count the property in the current month.

For more information, visit www.realtytrac.com.

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