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December US Foreclosures Jump From Previous Month

Thursday, 14 Jan 2010 | 12:06 AM ET

Foreclosures jumped 14 percent in December 2009 from the previous month, according to a new report from foreclosure listing Web site RealtyTrac.com.

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The increase came despite foreclosure suspensions during the holiday season from companies like Citigroup , Bank of America and Fannie Mae .

“Had we not had a moratorium, it would have been even higher than we saw,” said Rick Sharga, vice president of marketing at RealtyTrac.com. “We’ll probably see an increase in the first quarter as well.”

In all, 349,519 properties received a foreclosure notice in December, up 15 percent from the year before. That's one in every 366 housing units receiving a foreclosure notice, which is defined as a default notice, bank repossession or auction sale notice.

When it came to individual states, Nevada had the highest monthly foreclosure rate in the country once again with one in every 94 households receiving a notice.

Arizona ranked second with one in every 132 households receiving a foreclosure notice, followed by Florida (one in every 158 households), Idaho (one in every 159 households) and California (one in every 165 households).

Vermont had the lowest rate with one in every 18,320 households receiving a notice.

Besides the monthly data, RealtyTrac also released foreclosure totals for 2009. Last year, 2.8 million US properties received foreclosure filings, a 21 percent increase from 2008 and a 120 percent increase from 2007.

The numbers fell short of the 3 million to 3.2 million foreclosures RealtyTrac had predicted for the year because the government's mortgage modification program has temporarily slowed foreclosures that will most likely occur anyway, Sharga said.

“On the surface that sounds good, but it's not really preventing foreclosures,” he added.

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