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Foreclosure activity 'a mixed bag': RealtyTrac

Foreclosure activity 'a mixed bag': RealtyTrac
Foreclosures are up from last quarter but down from last year, according to RealtyTrac. (Associated Press)

Foreclosures increased in the first three months of the year from the previous quarter but are down compared to a year ago, according to RealtyTrac.

The Irvine-based foreclosure data firm continued a run of housing data this week, much of which suggests the housing market may be on the recovery track.

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But this year's landmark settlement over robo-signing at the nation's largest banks have many experts unsure of how to predict future foreclosure trends.

"First quarter metro foreclosure trends were a mixed bag," said Brandon Moore, RealtyTrac's chief executive in a statement. He called the data "an early sign that long-dormant foreclosures are coming out of hibernation in many local markets."

RealtyTrac found quarterly foreclosure activity was up in 114 of the country's 212 large metro areas, spiking 49% in Pittsburgh, for example. Portland saw the largest quarterly decrease, with a 28% tumble in foreclosures, compared to a 26% fall in Las Vegas.

In year-over-year comparisons, however, 64% of regions encountered lowered foreclosure activity. Las Vegas foreclosures were down 61% compared to the first quarter of 2011, for example.

Stockton, Calif., had the highest overall percentage of foreclosures in the country, with its one-in-60 rate more than three times the national average. But the 3,912 properties that had foreclosure filings in the area represent a 13% drop from the fourth quarter and 19% slide year-over-year.

Modesto's foreclosure rate was only slightly lower than Stockton's. Ten other cities in California also had among the 20 highest foreclosure rates, with Riverside-San Bernardino, Vallejo-Fairfield, Merced, Sacramento and Bakersfield rounding out the top seven spots.

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