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Foreclosures Resume Ascension

349,519 December filings

Jan. 14, 2010

By staff

After falling each of the past four months, foreclosures worsened. For all of last year, filings climbed to the highest level on record.

RealtyTrac reported today that 3,957,643 foreclosure filings -- including default notices, scheduled foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions -- were filed on 2,824,674 U.S. properties during 2009. It was an all-time high.

The foreclosure listing service -- which reportedly collects data from more than 2,200 U.S. counties representing 90 percent of the population -- said 3,157,806 foreclosures were filed on 2,330,483 properties the prior year.

More than half of 2009's activity was in just four states: Arizona, California, Florida and Illinois.

California's 632,573 filings were more than any other state last year. Golden State foreclosures were 21 percent higher than in 2008.

Florida followed with 516,711 properties facing a foreclosure filing in 2009, then 163,210 in Arizona and 131,132 in Illinois. No. 5 Michigan saw 118,302 filings.

The state that fared the best was Vermont, where only 143 properties faced foreclosure.

During just December, 349,519 U.S. properties faced foreclosure, higher than 306,627 reported for November and 15 percent higher than December 2008.

The monthly increase followed four consecutive months of declines.

"In the long term, a massive supply of delinquent loans continues to loom over the housing market, and many of those delinquencies will end up in the foreclosure process in 2010 and beyond," RealtyTrac Chief Executive Officer James J. Saccacio forecasted in the report.

The U.S. foreclosure rate was 2.21 percent last year, or one property faced foreclosure for each 45 housing units, RealtyTrac said. During 2008, the rate was 1.84 percent.

For all of 2009, Nevada's 10.17 percent rate was the worst of any state. The rate worked out to one foreclosure for each 10 housing units.

Arizona's rate was 6.12 percent, then Florida's 5.93 percent, California's 4.75 percent and Utah's 2.93 percent.

In Vermont, just one foreclosure for each 2,178 housing units was filed -- giving it the lowest rate: 0.05 percent.

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