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Foreclosure Activity Increases 9% in First Quarter

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RISMEDIA, April 16, 2009-RealtyTrac®, one of the leading online marketplaces for foreclosure properties, released its U.S. Foreclosure Market ReportTM for Q1 2009, which shows that foreclosure filings – default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions – were reported on 803,489 properties in the first quarter, a 9% increase from the previous quarter and an increase of nearly 24% from Q1 2008. One in every 159 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing during the quarter.

Foreclosure filings were reported on 341,180 properties in March, a 17% increase from the previous month and a 46% increase from March 2008. The March and Q1 2009 totals were the highest monthly and quarterly totals since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005 despite a decrease in bank repossessions (REOs), which were down 13% from the fourth quarter of 2008 and 3% from February totals.

“In the month of March we saw a record level of foreclosure activity – the number of households that received a foreclosure filing was more than 12 percent higher than the next highest month on record. Since much of this activity was in new foreclosure actions, it suggests that many lenders and servicers were holding off on executing foreclosures due to industry moratoria and legislative delays,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “It’s also likely that the drop in REO activity can be attributed to these processing delays, rather than to any of the foreclosure prevention programs currently in place. It’s very likely that we’ll see the number of REOs increase again now that most of the moratoria have been lifted.”

“On a positive note, it appears that demand is up in some of the harder-hit areas, particularly on bank-owned REO properties that first time homebuyers and investors see as bargains,” Saccacio continued. “But it’s unlikely that this increased demand will be enough to offset the growing number of foreclosures in the pipeline, accelerated by rising unemployment rates.”

Nevada, Arizona, California post top state foreclosure rates in first quarter
Nevada continued to document the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate in the first quarter, with one in every 27 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing – more than five times the national average. Foreclosure filings were reported on 41,296 Nevada properties during the quarter, an increase of 19% from the previous quarter and an increase of nearly 111% from Q1 2008. Bank repossessions in Nevada were down 3% from the previous quarter, but defaults increased 27% and auction sale notices increased 35%.

Arizona posted the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate for the first quarter, with one in every 54 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, and California posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 58 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.

Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 in the first quarter were Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Idaho, Utah and Oregon.

Five states account for nearly 60% of nation’s first quarter total
California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois accounted for nearly 60% of the nation’s foreclosure activity in the first quarter, with 479,516 properties receiving foreclosure filings in the five states combined.

With 230,915 properties receiving foreclosure filings during the quarter, California accounted for nearly 29%% of the nation’s total. The state’s foreclosure activity increased 35% from the previous quarter and 36% from Q1 2008, and the first-quarter total was state’s highest quarterly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in the first quarter of 2005.

Despite a 12% decrease from the previous quarter, Florida’s first quarter total was still second highest in the nation. Foreclosure filings were reported on 119,220 Florida properties, a 36% increase from the first quarter of 2008. The state posted the nation’s fourth highest state foreclosure rate during the quarter, with one in every 73 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.

Foreclosure filings were reported on 49,119 Arizona properties in the first quarter of 2009, the third highest total among the states, and 41,296 Nevada properties received a foreclosure filing in the first quarter of 2009, the fourth highest total among the states.

Illinois posted the nation’s fifth highest total, with 38,966 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the first quarter – a 32% increase from the previous quarter and a 68% increase from the first quarter of 2008. With one in every 135 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, the state’s foreclosure rate also ranked fifth highest among the states.

Rounding out the states with the 10 highest foreclosure activity totals in Q1 2009 were Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Virginia.

For more information, visit www.realtytrac.com.

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