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Foreclosure Activity up 75 Percent in 2007

RealtyTrac released year-end data from its 2007 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report today, which revealed a total of 2,203,295 foreclosure filings reported on 1,285,873 properties nationwide during the year, a 75 percent increase from 2006.

The annual report also showed that more than 1 percent of all U.S. households were in some stage of foreclosure during the year, up from 0.58 percent in 2006.

“The year ended with a monthly increase of 7 percent in December, making it the fifth straight month with more than 200,000 foreclosure filings reported and giving the fourth quarter the highest quarterly total we’ve seen since we began issuing our report in January 2005,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, in a release.

In December alone, 215,749 foreclosure filings were reported, an increase of 97 percent from December 2006.

That brought the fourth-quarter total to 642,150 filings on 527,740 properties, up one percent from the previous quarter and up 86 percent from the fourth quarter of 2006.

“It also pushed the foreclosure filing total for 2007 well over 2 million. And while filings were up 75 percent, the number of properties in some stage of foreclosure was up 79 percent, indicating that some properties may have just entered the initial stage of foreclosure in 2007 and could be going through the rest of the foreclosure process in 2008 — unless lender and government intervention efforts begin to gain more traction.”

Not surprisingly, Nevada posted the nation’s highest foreclosure rate for 2007, with 3.4 percent of its households entering some stage of foreclosure during the year and 66,316 foreclosure filings overall.

Florida came in a distant second with more than 2 percent of its households entering some stage of foreclosure during the year, and Michigan rounded out the top three with 1.9 percent of households in the foreclosure process.

California reported the highest number of foreclosure filings in 2007, with a total of 481,392 foreclosure filings on 249,513 properties during the year.

Florida again came in second with 279,325 total foreclosure filings, followed by Ohio with 153,196 filings.

It’s important to note that foreclosure filings recorded by RealtyTrac include default notices, auction sales notices and bank repossessions, and that not all result in foreclosure.

Home Prices Fall at Record Pace

In related news, the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index fell 7.7 percent for the year through November, marking the 11th consecutive monthly drop and the largest decline since the index was started in 2000.

The 10-city index suffered even more, declining a record 8.4 percent for the year, news that won’t bode well for those grappling with foreclosure.

“Not only did the 10-city composite index post another record low in its annual growth rate, but 13 of the 20 metro areas, each with data back to 1991, did the same,” Shiller said.

2007 foreclosure map

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