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Mixed Foreclosure Activity

The bad new is that foreclosure activity is much worse than it was a year ago and new monthly filings are on the rise. The good news: repossessions have recently declined.

First-quarter foreclosure filings were 803,489, RealtyTrac reported today. Filings — which included default notices, auction sale notices and repossessions — fell from 908,900 during the fourth quarter but surged from 649,917 in the first-quarter 2008.

During just March, however, foreclosures were filed on 341,180 U.S. properties — jumping from 290,631 in February and 234,685 in March 2008.

California had 107,785 filings last month, more than any other state. Florida followed with 47,131 foreclosures, then Nevada at 19,849. At 18,876 foreclosures, Arizona was No. 4, then Illinois, where there were 15,398 filings.

Vermont saw the fewest foreclosures: four.

U.S. real estate owned filings were 190,543 in the first quarter, falling from 241,985 the previous quarter but higher than 156,463 a year earlier.

March REOs fell to 71,751 from February’s 74,095 but climbed from 51,393 in March 2008.

California was the worst state for REOs in March, with 14,352 repossessions, followed by Florida’s 6,601 and Georgia’s 5,230. After that was Arizona, at 4,861 REOs, then Nevada, where 4,443 homes were repossessed.

The fewest repossessions — one — occurred in South Dakota.

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