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RISMEDIA, August 17, 2009-(MCT)-Thousands of homeowners across Arizona moved closer to losing their homes last month.

Arizona had the third-highest foreclosure rate in the United States in July, with one in every 135 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, according to the latest market report from RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties.

Foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 19,694 properties statewide, up 17 percent from June and 47.5 percent from July 2008.

There was some evidence that the rate of increase slowed a little in June, but that wasn’t the case last month, said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac spokesman.

“There was a short period where they weren’t increasing quite as quickly, but at least in July they’re back to pretty sharp increases on a year-overyear basis,” he said. “We’re hearing that home sales are up in Phoenix right now, and there are some signs that home prices might be stabilizing, which is good news. So Phoenix would be one of those markets that we might expect to see a turnaround in the foreclosure numbers. But we haven’t seen it yet.”

Scheduled auctions, the first public record in the Arizona foreclosure process, jumped 25 percent from the previous month, while bank repossessions stayed flat. Only Nevada and California had higher state foreclosure rates.

“We’re putting more into the foreclosure pipeline even as we’re still trying to deal with the large numbers that are already in the pipeline,” Blomquist said.

Among metropolitan areas, Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale had the ninth-highest foreclosure rate, with one in every 109 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.

Nationally, foreclosure filings were reported on 360,149 properties, with one in every 355 U.S. housing units receiving a foreclosure notice. That’s up nearly 7 percent from June and 32 percent from July 2008.

There’s no evidence yet that national foreclosure prevention programs have affected foreclosure filings, Blomquist said.

“We don’t see a quick end to this anytime in the next few months,” he said. “We expect the numbers to continue to be high through at least the end of this year.”

Copyright (c) 2009, The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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